Child Welfare Workers’ Connectivity to Resources and Youth’s Receipt of Services

Alicia C. Bunger, Arlene R. Stiffman, Kirk A. Foster, Peichang Shi


Youth involved in the child welfare system are at high risk for mental illness, substance abuse, and other behavioral health issues, which child welfare workers are expected to address through referrals. Child welfare workers (N=27) who participated in Project IMPROVE (Intervention for Multisector Provider Enhancement) reported on services they provided to youth (N=307) in their caseloads. Using survey and administrative data, this paper examines workers’ service actions on behalf of youth. Results were consistent with the Gateway Provider Model and showed that youths received help from a greater variety of service sectors when their workers were able to identify behavioral health problems, and were familiar with and connected to other providers in the community. Improving service delivery to youth in child welfare may be accomplished by training workers in the signs and symptoms of behavioral health problems and familiarizing them with providers in the community.


Child welfare workers; Behavioral health; Connectivity

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Copyright (c) 2009 Alicia C. Bunger, Arlene R. Stiffman, Kirk A. Foster, Peichang Shi


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