Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) supported legislation to strengthen America’s child welfare system, which has been particularly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the Child Welfare Workforce Support Act would increase recruitment and retention rates for child welfare workers to stabilize the welfare workforce and ensure consistent support for vulnerable children.
“As the coronavirus pandemic creates added layers of uncertainty for Nevada’s children, child welfare workers are a vital lifeline for our state’s most vulnerable kids, including the 4,500 Nevada children in foster care. Unfortunately, high turnover rates of child welfare workers can leave the system unable to adequately meet the needs of our at-risk populations. It’s time for Congress to act, which is why I’m proud to support legislation that increases caseworker retention rates so vulnerable youth have the support system they need to lead stable, healthy and happy lives.”
Specifically, the Child Welfare Workforce Support Act would:
- Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a five-year pilot program that would focus on building best practices for:
- Reducing barriers to recruitment, development and retention of child welfare workers;
- Better supporting the child welfare workforce and their efforts to better meet the unique needs of infants and children;
- Providing ongoing professional development opportunities and support, including addressing secondary-trauma, to improve the retention of child welfare workers;
- Require programs to be monitored and evaluated by the Department of Health and Human Services and issue a report on outcomes from the pilot program.
Full text of the bill is available here.