Child Welfare Workers’ Knowledge and Use of a Resilience Approach in Out-of-Home Care


  • Madhavappallil Thomas California state university, Bakersfield
  • Barbara Reifel California state university, Bakersfield



Child welfare, resilience-informed intervention, risk factors, protective factors, out-of-home care services


This paper examines child welfare workers’ use of resilience-based knowledge and intervention in a public child welfare system in a county in California. The data for the study were collected from child welfare workers who worked with out-of-home care children (n= 102). Descriptive analysis including chi-square tests was carried out. Findings show that a significant majority of child welfare workers are able to correctly identify risk and protective factors that are central to the concept of resilience. Although a significant majority recognizes the importance of using a resilience-based approach, most workers without a degree in social work are not familiar with it and are not currently using it in their practice. In terms of familiarity with and in the use of resilience-based assessment and interventions, significant differences were found to exist between workers with degrees in social work and workers without degrees in social work. Implications for social work education, agency training, and practice in child welfare are discussed.

Author Biographies

Madhavappallil Thomas, California state university, Bakersfield

Associate Professor Dept. of social work

Barbara Reifel, California state university, Bakersfield

Lecturer Dept. of social work