New Mentoring and Training for New Workers
CPS redesigned its training for caseworkers to reduce turnover and give new caseworkers a realistic understanding of the job early on. The nine-month training begins on the caseworker’s first day and includes working with experienced caseworkers (mentors), more time in the field, and revised classroom training. In a pilot in the San Antonio area, 70 percent of new caseworkers said mentoring helped them develop their skills. Plus, most mentors said the experience made them more likely to stay at CPS.
While overall turnover among investigations caseworkers improved only slightly from 34 percent to 33 percent, there was a shift in when caseworkers left the program. For those hired in FY 2015, turnover in the first three months on the job increased significantly from 15 percent to 20 percent.
New caseworkers are learning what the job requires early on and those that are not a good fit are opting out before they carry a caseload or more training resources are lost.
CPS works with faith-based organizations and community partners across the state to serve children and families who are at risk or already involved with CPS. This includes using the Care Portal, a web-based tool that allows CPS staff to connect with the faith community. CPS uses the portal to ask churches to help meet the needs of children and families. The portal began in Bell, Williamson, and Travis Counties in August 2014, and has now expanded to nine other counties in Regions 2, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 11.
There are 335 churches enrolled in the Care Portal in Texas and CPS and faith-based organizations assisted 97 families in FY 2015. A survey of the faith community found that more than 75 percent of respondents were pleased with the faith-based partnership.