Crisis in Child Welfare

Crisis in Child Welfare
One of the biggest crises in the child welfare system is caseworker turnover. Many involved families have ten or more new workers through the life of their case. According to Crosscut, turnover is around 20 percent a year in Washington State and has been as high as 30 percent in King County (almost any involved party can tell you those numbers are much higher in particular regional offices).  The effects of a caseworker carousel on families is devastating. As noted by Crosscut, per a Wisconsin study a child with one worker has a 75 percent chance of being placed in a permanent and stable home within one year. This figure drops to 18 percent if a child has two caseworkers in one year, and a staggeringly low .1 percent with six or seven caseworkers. New caseworkers often cannot rely on their supervisors to fill them in, as their supervisors frequently are also new to the case (or in some instances the supervisor position is vacant and being temporarily filled by even higher-up staff with little knowledge of the family). This dynamic makes foster parents feel unsupported by the State, in turn reducing the amount of willing foster homes. Such turnover results in a “Catch-22” situation where the scarcity of foster homes makes it hard for the State to retain employees. The workers who are retained long-term end up carrying much above their caseload, making it impossible for them to do their job well. This is crippling for parents working to have their children returned home. They often cannot get a hold of any worker familiar with their case. Referrals for court-ordered services essential for reunification are often not submitted for months, if at all. Information regarding their compliance with case requirements might be sent to a worker who left their job without notifying families. Many parents feel like giving up as such turnover makes their efforts feel futile and their voice unheard. It is clear that that one of the biggest issues the state must address aggressively is figuring out how to retain well-trained social workers for the long term.


Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.
ebl home subscribe image


Latest Blog Posts

Child support is one of the most contentious issues in divorce cases where parties have minor children. Even though Washington state law uses the same complex mathematical formula to determine the amount of child support for each child, there is…

Family law and estate planning often intersect. This is particularly true when contemplating divorce, remarriage, or blending families.

At some point during your divorce case, friends and family members whose own marriages ended in divorce probably told you that it gets better, and it does. Of course, from your perspective, getting out of a bad marriage might be…

Co-parenting over a long distance when you are a non-residential parent does not have to equate to sacrificing involvement in your children’s lives. But it likely does mean you will have to make tweaks in your communication and parenting style to accommodate the new living arrangement.

If you have a significant amount of money saved, you might be considering giving some of it away while you are still alive via what is known in estate planning jargon as a living inheritance. Depending on your desires, you can give your beneficiaries a portion of or all of the inheritance you intend to give them.

Estate planning is commonly associated with preparing for asset distribution and financial management in the event of the estate plan owner’s incapacitation or death. However, an estate plan can protect more than just people and what they have worked so hard during their lifetimes to build. A carefully crafted Washington state estate plan can also protect pets.

Despite being divorced, you may still be able to collect social security benefits through your ex-spouse. Even if you went through a high-conflict divorce or are not on good terms with your ex-spouse currently, they cannot stop you from collecting these benefits if you are eligible. Likewise, your ex-spouse does not need to permit you to apply for social security benefits or have previously completed an application themselves.

If you live in Washington State and have an estranged family member, are you worried about them contesting your will after you die? Well, don’t worry quite yet. There are a variety of criteria an individual must meet to contest a will in the state of Washington.

Depending on your situation, there might also be measures you can take as you revisit your existing estate plan or create a new one to cause them to think twice about doing so. Here is what you need to know about whether an estranged family member can contest a will in Washington state.

When parents go through a divorce, child custody can be one of the hardest issues to deal with. But increasingly in American households, pets are part of the family, and separating can create similar concerns over who gets the family pet.

As a Seattle entrepreneur, you’ve undoubtedly dedicated countless hours and resources to building a successful business. You’ve dotted all of your I’s and crossed all of your T’s. But have you considered what will happen to your business after you're…