The Role of Voice Suppression in Case Managers’ Job Satisfaction and Retention
A Focus Group Inquiry
Keywords:case manager; foster care; inter-professional; job satisfaction; turnover
With the goal of improving child well-being, child welfare agencies have begun to focus on the child welfare workforce and to advance strategies that address job satisfaction and retention. A qualitative approach was employed to gather the perspectives of case managers regarding these important issues. Ten foster care case managers participated through three focus groups. Responses were solicited using a semi-structured set of questions primarily focused on critical factors that affect job satisfaction and turnover. Through inductive coding, a prominent theme emerged regarding the suppression of case managers’ voices. Case managers described the suppression of their voices during decision-making in foster care cases by five types of actors, i.e., supervisors, judges, guardians ad litem, attorneys, and funding agency representatives. Further, they described the negative effects this experience had on both themselves and the children and families they serve. These results demonstrate the importance of inter-professional interactions in the foster care field. Further research is needed to identify the extent of this problem and the ways in which interactions can be improved and all voices can be considered.
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