Every day, child welfare caseworkers encounter children who are victims of trauma. Daily exposure to trauma can cause caseworkers to experience secondary traumatic stress (STS), which often results in lower staff moral and increased turnover.
Yvette Bradford, Quality Improvement Director at Lutheran Children and Family Service (LCFS), recognized that addressing these challenges would require a change in the way that the organization understands trauma.
LCFS has adopted a “Reflective Supervision” model developed by Multiplying Connections (www.multiplyingconnections.com). Reflective Supervision includes a variety of strategies such as regular meetings, reflective questions, creative thinking and collaborative problem solving to address case challenges.
“Our organization is strongly committed to this,” said LCFS supervisor Samantha Wascow. “Caseworkers know their issues are being discussed and that cuts down on their own stress level. It has transformed the culture to one of hopefulness and this brings down the temperature for everyone.”
“Workers feel heard in a more concrete way than they ever did before,” said Yodit Amaha, who has been a supervisor at LCFS for 18 years. “When you empower a worker, they will go out and empower their clients so that they can handle the situations that they are facing. They are working with their clients in new ways, pushing them to share more, vent when they need to, and then explore strategies and resources for solving their problems.”
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