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Abstract

Strengths-based supervision (SBS) is a model of clinical supervision that was developed to support effective implementation of family-centered practice in public child welfare. An evaluation was conducted to determine the degree to which learning from this 2-day workshop transferred to changes in supervisory practices. Links to pre- and posttest anonymous online surveys were sent through email to the supervisees of the supervisors who participated in the SBS training. Findings suggest that 41% of respondents reported positive changes to the supervision they received in child welfare after their supervisors attended the training. Changes that were discussed in open-ended comments were consistent with the training content. Findings offer implications regarding the benefit of this training for supervisors working in child welfare settings.

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... The overarching goal of supervision is to ensure the therapist is developing clinical skills and conceptualizing client's cases appropriately (Lietz et al., 2014). More specifically, "the goal of supervision is for the therapist to develop skills and awareness of the client system and structure, as well as of their impact and interaction within that system" (Bursky & Cook, 2016, p. 162). ...
... Supervisors serve as mentors, teachers, facilitators, gatekeepers, and role models for therapists in training (Bursky & Cook, 2016). The role of the supervisor is to train, educate, and support the therapist while establishing a clear hierarchical position (Lietz et al., 2014). The goals and process of change for SFT are isomorphic to the goals and process of structural supervision. ...
Article
This paper discusses supervision through a structural family therapy (SFT) lens. SFT aims to alter dysfunctional patterns in exchange for healthy interactions by creating clear hierarchies and boundaries. Families are organized by hierarchies; within this structure, it is common for parents and older adults to be at the top. This mirrors supervision as traditionally the more experienced and higher licensed clinicians are at the top. This paper conveys how clinical supervisors can train, educate, and support while establishing a hierarchical position allowing for isomorphic and bidirectional growth. Additionally, this paper introduces an intervention utilizing hierarchies to address privilege and power.
... Over 250 supervisors were trained in the model in 2008 and the content has remained required for new supervisors hired across this public child welfare setting since that time. Recognizing the need for enhanced training for child welfare supervisors, two other states adopted the model and have engaged in ongoing training of their supervisors in SBS (Lietz et al. 2014) and an additional state has recently trained one large region and is considering spreading adoption statewide as well. Training regarding SBS was offered for a set of non-profit organizations providing direct child welfare services and this group also reported the content was applicable and useful for their practice. ...
... The changes were pronounced in two areas related to advancing clinical supervision including the use of group supervision and increased ability to prompt critical thinking during supervisory conferences. In a recent study of SBS, researchers asked whether supervisees observe positive changes in the supervision they receive after 3 months of implementation (Lietz et al. 2014). To answer this research questions, supervisees were sent an anonymous online survey 1 month prior to the SBS training. ...
Article
Full-text available
Child welfare supervision is fundamental to advancing the quality of practice when seeking to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children. Child welfare supervisors serve administrative, educational, and support functions as they oversee frontline caseworkers and direct service providers. Clinical supervision, a dialog-driven process of case review and consultation is situated within the educational function. The process of clinical supervision is essential to child welfare practice, because it prompts reflection and builds analytical thinking skills needed to address complex situations involved in child protection. Despite increased recognition regarding the importance of clinical supervision, child welfare supervision continues to focus primarily on administrative tasks. Organizational climate and external pressures push this administrative agenda. In addition, many child welfare supervisors lack experience, training, and therefore competency in facilitating clinical case reviews. Strengths-Based Supervision (SBS; Lietz 2013) is a model of clinical supervision that was developed to (a) increase child welfare supervisors’ intentionality regarding the importance of infusing clinical supervision into child welfare supervision and (b) advance the skills needed to implement this practice effectively representing one solution to this ongoing challenge.
... Bearman et al. (2017) also argue that organizational efforts -training and supervision -may increase individual practitioners' skills and attitudes, which in turn leads to maintaining high fidelity of evidence-based treatments. Furthermore, drawing on the parallel process in supervision, some studies suggest that the effect of supervision on model fidelity may be strengthened when the supervision is guided by similar principles as used in the practice model (Frey et al., 2012;Lietz, Hayes, Cronin, & Julien-Chinn, 2014). ...
Article
Family Team Conference (FTC) has been suggested as a promising practice model to improve child welfare outcomes. However, there is little understanding of developing an effective workforce to ensure FTC fidelity. Using data involving 891 caseworkers who implemented FTC in a Midwestern state, path analysis showed that both effective training and supervision that parallels the same principles of FTC are necessary conditions to enhance FTC fidelity either directly or indirectly by increasing caseworkers’ facilitation skills. This paper suggests that organizational readiness and ongoing support are essential for ensuring the high-quality implementation of family-centered practice in the public child welfare system.
... Likewise, McPherson et al (2015) conducted "in-depth interviews with 10 supervisees and 10 child protection supervisors" (p. 19) to explore their understanding and experiences of 'effective supervision' (see also Lietz et al, 2014). Such approaches tell us a great deal about the subjective experience of supervision, but are of more limited value for evaluating whether supervision is helpful. ...
Article
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What does social work supervision help with? There are many different models of supervision and an increasing amount of research. Much of this is concerned with the content of supervision and how supervisors (and supervisees) should behave — and these are important concerns. But even more important is the question of who or what supervision helps with. Supervision is widely considered to have many different functions but in the context of UK local authority social work, must ultimately prove itself as a method for helping people who use services. This article reports on a survey of 315 social workers from UK local authorities. Most reported that supervision helps primarily with management oversight and accountability. However, the small number of practitioners who received regular group supervision and those who received supervision more frequently said it helped with a much broader range of things.
... The scales were then pilot-tested and adapted in the first study of SBS conducted in 2008. Ongoing studies have used these scales as pre-and posttests to measure the degree to which direct reports noticed observable changes in their supervisors after they attended training in SBS (Lietz, 2008;Lietz, Hayes, Cronin, & Julien-Chinn, 2014;Lietz & Rounds, 2009). All scales have maintained consistent internal reliability throughout testing with different samples. ...
Article
An online survey was administered to all child welfare specialists in one urban region (N = 427) to examine which aspects of supervision predicted higher levels of satisfaction. The specific supervisory processes that were measured included the components that make up strengths-based supervision, a model that was developed for child welfare settings. Findings indicate that all but one of the components predicted higher levels of satisfaction with supervision, lending support to these specific practices and to the overall model. The most important predictor is supervisor support, corroborating previous research. Findings offer implications for practice suggesting implementing strengths-based supervision may be one way to enhance supervision satisfaction. Enhancing individual components such as level of supervisor support is also indicated.
... Respectful and supportive interactions between professionals likely impact their interactions with other team members, including biological parents. Previous research on clinical supervision indicates that there is a repeated pattern between what occurs in supervision and then occurs in practice (Lietz, Hayes, Cronin, & Julien-Chinn, 2014). This may also occur in the relationship between the child welfare worker and the foster parent, in that if the worker models family centered practice, the foster parent may be more likely to parallel that practice. ...
Article
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Foster parents care for our nation’s most vulnerable children and adolescents. Their ability to provide care is impacted directly and indirectly by their interactions with public child welfare agencies and workers. This study examines the perspectives of 1095 foster parents in a southwestern state in the U.S. regarding what they believe child welfare workers are doing well and their suggestions for ways to improve relationships between foster care providers and child welfare workers. Foster parents commended caseworkers who were responsive to their needs and provided ongoing concrete and emotional support, and believed there was a need for improved communication and enhanced teamwork. Foster parents consistently acknowledged an overwhelmed child welfare system and the impact on child welfare workers and child welfare-involved families. Understanding the perspectives of foster parents can improve relationships between child welfare workers and foster parents, improve recruitment and retention efforts of foster parents, prevent disruption of children from foster homes due to license closure, and improve the overall well-being of child welfare-involved children and families.
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Article
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Strengths-Based Supervision (SBS) is a model of supervision that was developed for child welfare settings. The model integrates several supervisory processes that are conducted with the primary focus of supporting effective implementation of Family-Centered Practice (FCP). The model was developed in one southwestern state in 2008 and has since been adopted by other public child welfare systems and by private, non-profit settings. The purpose of this article is to describe the model and offer implications for practice.
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This study contributes to the emerging knowledge base of child welfare supervision. An exploratory study examined the beliefs, practices, and experiences of 51 child welfare supervisors in Ontario, Canada. Eight focus groups were held with supervisors from a range of settings cross the province. The study identified a number of interwoven factors at the organizational, supervisory, and practice level that affect the nature of supervision offered. Implications are drawn for child welfare practice, models of supervision which integrate administrative, clinical and educational features, organizational culture, and training new supervisors.
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Decision making in child welfare is complex. As administrators seek to prepare their workforce for this challenging task, agencies commonly look to trainings as the primary way to develop new workers. This article asserts supervision as an essential part of enhancing the knowledge of workers. In addition, reflective supervision that prompts critical thinking can also develop the analytical skills needed to respond to the complex situations commonly seen in child welfare. To assess the degree to which reflective supervision is being used, a mixed methods online survey was administered to 348 caseworkers, supervisors, and administrators at a large public child welfare agency to measure activities indicative of critical thinking in supervision. Results suggest that despite some level of critical thinking, supervision in child welfare could be advanced through an increase in supervisory interaction that fosters critical thinking ultimately supporting decision making.
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Book
A book on social work supervision is desperately needed to bridge the gap between the demands of the field and the absence of literature. Social Work Supervision: Contexts and Concepts aims to provide readers with basic knowledge of theories, research, and practice of supervision. The book addresses the needs of social work supervisors, frontline practitioners, students, and educators and contains a comprehensive literature review of the historical development, theories and models, and empirical research studies of the subject. Equally important, this is a book from practice experience in supervision that enhances the competence of supervisory practice. It will help social workers, supervisors, and administrators to realize and revitalize their “mission” in social work, that is, to benefit clients.
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This paper attempts to demonstrate that a psychodynamic perspective can advance social work thinking at the practice, supervisory and policy levels, especially at a time when undue weight is being given to a managerialist approach. Case illustrations and work from recently undertaken research are used to highlight these issues. Finally, a psychodynamically-oriented consultation model used on the PQ Social Work Course at the Maudsley is outlined. © 1993, Group for the Advancement of Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy in Social Work
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reviews the literature on the development of the concept of family-centered service delivery in several disciplines, notably social work, education, and health care, culminating in a definition of family-centered practice for families with dependent children / this definition is critiqued, and some clarification of ill-defined aspects of the concept are offered / an alternative model for conceptualizing family-centered service delivery across disciplines is presented, along with examples of its application for practice and research (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The transfer of training to practice constitutes an ongoing challenge in child welfare services. Many efforts to understand and promote training transfer address the concept as an individual-level behavior. This study suggests that training transfer is both an individual and collective process. The study involves a survey at two time points of 214 workers from child welfare agencies who attended a training program. Principle components analysis identified two meaningful sub-components within the concept of the training transfer. Hierarchical linear regression was used to assess the influence of individual-level and contextual factors on both components. Findings suggest that to promote collective training transfer and enhance both individual and group performance, child welfare administrators may need to strengthen supervisory support and to promote positive work climates in which trainees can discuss training concepts and work together to apply them.
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This study examines factors influencing the empowerment of child welfare workers. It correlates relationships among workers' perceptions of supervisors' help-giving behaviors, perceptions of agency support, and their perceived empowerment. The research investigated the associations between length of employment and type of educational degree and worker empowerment. The cross-sectional survey design used a sample of 85 child welfare workers. Multiple regression examined the combined influence of the predictor variables on worker empowerment as well as the degree of influence each predictor variable individually had upon the criterion variable, while others were controlled for. Results, confirmed by path analysis and underscored by qualitative responses, indicated that workers perceived their supervisors' helpgiving behaviors as the only factor that influenced their perceived empowerment. The author discusses implications for practice in human services.
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This article describes a clinical consultation model that was developed and tested with child welfare supervisors in a large urban municipality over a 3-year period. Carried out within the framework of an existing university–child welfare partnership, the project involved faculty from six schools of social work and a large child welfare system. The evaluation methodology included a pre–post self-assessment measure, a consumer satisfaction questionnaire, and follow-up at 3- and 15-month post-program participation. Findings revealed significant increases in scores on the self-assessment scale from years 1 (the pilot study) to 2. Fidelity of the intervention was consistent across years 2 and 3, with statistically significant changes in self-assessment scores in each year as well.This consultation program offers one tool for professional development that links faculty from schools of social work with MSW-level supervisors in the field, and yields encouraging results for professional decision-making in the provision of direct service. The model is transferable to other large cities and to many state-wide child welfare systems with comparable numbers of staff and clients.
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This study addresses the need and gap in the literature on evidence-based practice in family group decision-making services by reporting on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' Family Group Decision-Making study, conducted between December 2003 and July 2005 with Anglo, African American and Hispanic families throughout Texas. These services are compared to standard practice by assessing satisfaction, child well-being and exits from care. Findings indicate that both parents and relatives are more satisfied with family group decision-making conferences than standard practice on a number of dimensions, with relatives reporting feeling more empowered than parents. Children are reported to be less anxious if their families participate in a conference, and they may be more adjusted when they are placed with relatives following a conference. Finally, exits from care are faster if families participate in family group decision-making conferences, and exits to reunification are increased; this may be especially true of African American and Hispanic children.
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Recognizing the importance of understanding the way in which supervisors in child welfare perceive their administrative responsibilities and use power and authority, an exploratory study was conducted. Supervisors in child welfare agencies in urban and rural settings participated in focus groups and discussed the impact of macro and micro factors on their performance. Policy changes, including using new approaches to child welfare and organizational culture had a major affect on the way they offered supervision. At the micro level, their use of power was related to elements in their relationships with frontline workers and their own professional development. Implications for child welfare practice and for new and experienced supervisors are presented.
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The word ‘supervision’ means different things to different nurses. For example, to a nurse manager, it means the inspection and checking of a worker's performance by someone who is looking only for things that are being done wrong.
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The question of how to make the child protection system more responsive to involving the family is becoming an emerging subject of debate. What the research is demonstrating is regardless of model, the relationship with the client is the most active ingredient in the change process. This paper reviews beneficial technologies from family-centered practice including its "family-centered values" to demonstrate a "best practices" approach to child welfare investigation. The emphasis is on protection and safety for all family members as critical components to both child development and family well-being. Systemic change necessary to support these shifts in child welfare practice to a balanced concern for both children and families, is explored through a self-assessment process. The role of the larger contextual systems in supporting a child and family protection system for community-based protection of children and families is targeted.
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  • Cynthia A Lietz
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