Child welfare agencies must collect and analyze data credibly and translate their findings into
information that guides planning, dictates program change and supports funding requests. Although
agencies may, at times, lack the full range of data that would be ideal, all agencies have some data that
can be useful in planning. The same data can be used for various tasks. It can be managed and analyzed
in different ways for different purposes. Extreme caution needs to be exercised when using lessthan perfect
data. It is imperative that agencies be explicit about the limits of their data. At a minimum, child
welfare agencies shouldcollect data and get answers to questions on the following subject areas:
In the environmental scan, the agency collected data on who its clients are and their current and
future needs. Analysis of these findings can help determine which interventions work best with a
particular population, under what set of circumstances and why, and ultimately what knowledge, skills
and abilities are needed in the workforce. Program decisions require review of staffing patterns. The
agency must use this information to staff and deploy its workforce and use resources effectively and
efficiently to meet client needs.
The number and type of workers an agency needs should be determined by clients’ current and
projected needs. Planners should gather baseline data regarding the agency’s workforce operational capacity to determine current and future staffing levels and configurations and to measure productivity.
Example: The agency needs to gather information about the knowledge, skills, ability, education and
experience of its staff to identify the numbers and type of additional staff and other resources
needed to provide effective services to its client population.
An accurate determination of an agency’s workforce needs requires estimation or measurement and
analysis of the following:
Child welfare agencies need to know what the candidate pool looks like to determine what the
options may be if the labor market does not have candidates the agency considers ideal. It is critical that the practice model service standard not be compromised. The agency has the responsibility to take action as necessary
to develop and attract the ideal candidates. To consider alternatives and make decisions, agencies
will need to gather data and analyze the labor market to understand its relation to:
Example: High unemployment and tight labor markets could make more people available for employment,
but not necessarily the ideal candidates. Economic downturns could also increase the numbers of the
client population and cause an increase in workload. Potential candidates may consider leaving
the area for higher wages, more reasonable workload or other employment opportunities.
Budgets can pose both opportunities and systemic barriers. Aligning workforce planning with
the budget process is essential for setting realistic workforce goals and initiatives. Budget allocations impact the number and type of staff that may be hired, the scope of resources that can be accessed through community resources
and contracts, and the size of the agency’s support and administrative staff, as well as non
Statutory requirements and commitments force choices that impact budget allocations and program
selection. It is essential that agencies determine the workforce capacity they need to support
credible practice and meet statutory service obligation. It is important to collect information on
the potential impact on clients that insufficient staff (both in number and skill sets) will
have. Credible data can also be used to demonstrate the need for nonpersonnel resources (cars, cell
phones, information technology, etc.) that the workforce requires to conduct its work safely and effectively.