Fraying at the Edges: Qualitative Insight into the Experiences of CPS Caseworkers and the Issue of Voluntary Employee Turnover
Davis, Donna Jo (D. J.)
Every week in America thousands of children who are at risk of suffering abuse and/or neglect are removed from the homes of their caregivers and placed into their state’s foster care system. The individuals responsible for investigating the allegations of abuse and/or neglect to these children, and for ensuring they are kept safe, work for local Child Protective Services (CPS) units, or their state’s equivalent. Unfortunately, an examination of CPS units today reveals notoriously high employee turnover. This lack of continuity among caseworkers puts additional strain on the minority of employees who remain on the job and, most importantly, places already traumatized children at risk of suffering further harm. This study examines this issue in-depth. We begin with a consideration of the historical evolution of CPS in America, its federal legal parameters, a procedural description of how children today become wards of the State, the potential harm high CPS turnover poses, and prior research on the issue. We conclude with an in-depth, qualitative examination of the lives of CPS employees within a state urban unit.