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An Invitation to Choose: A Realistic Job Preview of North Carolina Child Welfare Work

Recruiting and retaining child welfare workers is a crucial part of North Carolina’s public child welfare system. Responsible for at least some of the turnover is an unrealistic understanding among new hires of what the work of child welfare actually entails. Research information from child welfare workers in thirty-three North Carolina counties during 2005–2006 indicates that workers who had an unrealistic understanding of child welfare work were likely to leave the profession, whereas workers who had realistic job expectations were prone to stay on the job.

The Realistic Job Preview (RJP) video, created in 2008 by the Jordan Institute for Families with funding from the U.S. Children’s Bureau, is a job-candidate selection tool designed to help North Carolina child welfare agencies recruit and retain qualified and committed caseworkers. The RJP, titled An Invitation to Choose, features thirty-three minutes of interviews with North Carolina child welfare workers, who talk openly about both the challenges and the rewards of their work, providing a balanced and realistic overview of day-to-day experience in a variety of public child welfare positions.

While no one can fully understand the profession of public child welfare before actually working in the field, An Invitation to Choose redresses many unrealistic career expectations a prospective job applicant might have.