Spotlight On Cultivating a Diverse Child Welfare Workforce

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Cultivating a Diverse Child Welfare Workforce


Child welfare workers are the backbone of our child welfare systems. The more our child welfare agencies reflect the communities they serve, the better they can understand and address the needs of children, young adults, and families in their jurisdictions.1 A diverse and culturally competent child welfare workforce can help agencies provide culturally responsive services, identify biases and barriers families face, and build trusted relationships within historically marginalized communities.2,3

Cultivating the diverse and culturally competent workforce that families deserve goes far beyond the hiring process. From recruitment and onboarding practices to mentorship, coaching, culture, and climate, so much goes into retaining and supporting diverse child welfare professionals and future leaders. While many agencies struggle with high turnover rates and difficulties recruiting new workers,4 others are finding innovative ways to grow and establish leadership pathways for their child welfare workforce.

Programs Working Toward a Diverse Child Welfare Workforce

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Now in its sixth cohort year, the Minority Professional Leadership Development Program is a 12-month program designed to support emerging minority leaders working in child welfare. Established by AdoptUSKids, the program includes hands-on experiences, exposure to national experts, and mentorship opportunities.

In collaboration with tribal child welfare professionals, leaders, elders, and community members, the Capacity Building Center for Tribes developed the Tribal Child Welfare Leadership Academy. The overall goal of the academy is to enhance the skills and abilities of tribal child welfare leaders to support their workforce and improve outcomes for Native children and families. In addition to completing the academy curriculum, participants receive individualized coaching on how to conduct an organizational change project and lead programs from a tribal perspective.

Tribal Child Welfare Academy

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Learn more about proven practices to strengthen a diverse child welfare workforce at the 2023 Child Welfare Virtual Expo (CWVE).

Join us on September 21, 2023, to explore how child welfare agencies are addressing today’s unique staffing challenges and adapting to recruit, retain, and support a diverse workforce. Visit our CWVE webpage for more information and register today!

Register Now


The Capacity Building Center for States (Center) has several resources to help child welfare agencies build capacity to support their workforce. Explore our Workforce Development topic page and the curated list below for resources to help agencies develop and implement effective recruitment and retention strategies, create supportive agency cultures and climates, and cultivate pathways for professional growth and leadership.

Center Resources

Intentional Inclusion video

Related Organizations

  • The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) – Promotes organizational interventions focused on developing and retaining a diverse and effective workforce by supporting partnerships among public and tribal child welfare programs and schools of social work.
NCWWI logo

Related Resources

Rethinking Child Welfare Recruitment

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