Child social workers at 80% turnover rate

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State University (MSU) professor explains why the turnover rate among child welfare workers in Missouri is currently at about 80%.

Amanda Keys, master of social work coordinator at MSU, says some reasons are because of caseloads and safety concerns.

“It’s a common theme in child welfare not just in this town, but in towns across the country that we continue to have issues with child welfare turnover,” Keys said.

Keys along with Daniel Ogunyemi with CASA say low salaries are a big reason for the high turnover rate.

“People, funders, etc, they don’t want to fund people to do this work to get rich,” Ogunyemi said. “Which is somewhat understandable. You want your dollars to go towards the programming and making sure someone else, their needs are being taken care of. Right? At the same time, what that doesn’t lend itself to is people staying in the field.”

Safety concerns are another reason why workers are hard to keep.

“To ask somebody to go into a home that they don’t know, to verify safety, can be really concerning,” Keys said.

Keys and Ogunyemi are hopeful that things can change and more people will stay in the social worker field.

“If we can come alongside and help people understand the reality of things like this, so people can really understand what goes on, maybe people can have a little more compassion, show us some more support,” Ogunyemi said.

Caseload is also another reason people don’t stay in the field, there could be 15 to 30 kids assigned to one social worker.

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