A recent headline reads:
The article begins with: “The [South Carolina] state child-welfare agency’s plan for hiring  more caseworkers is ambitious but will take longer than a year, a national child-welfare expert warned state senators Tuesday.”
This highlights one reason that myself and others have advocated for a thorough re-evaluation of the best ‘training ground’ for the child welfare workforce. The current thinking that social work offers the most desirable preparation for a career in child welfare needs to be (re)considered. The limited capacity of social work programs in meeting the workforce demands, along with the seeming disinterest in promoting child welfare as a career choice within the social work profession suggests that it is time to either:
The latter, of course, would require a significant ‘culture shift’ towards one that embraces child welfare as a career choice within the social work profession. (And we all know how easy it is to promote change in a decades-old establishment!)
The bottom line is that we, as a society, (apparently) do not place enough value on vulnerable children to address this challenge. We are concerned about STEM subjects; that is, Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics. But we have not yet reached the ‘tipping point‘ required to address the workforce challenges in child welfare. When we make children a priority, perhaps the child welfare profession will finally get the attention it deserves.
Workforce challenges aside, the proposed system changes are laudable. The state has the opportunity to be a leader in the field, if they are able to sustain this momentum. For the sake of South Carolina children (and perhaps, ALL children, eventually), I hope so.