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RetailROI partners with Avanade to track turnover among children's social workers

RetailROI and Avanade are helping bring attention to child welfare workers.

Retail Orphan Initiative (RetailROI) is co-developing a free web-based tool to address high turnover among child welfare workers.

The organization is teaming up with Avanade, a leading Microsoft solutions provider, to launch the new Cost of Social Worker Turnover calculator. The tool is designed to help states, agencies and legislators accurately quantify the short- and long-term financial impacts of pervasive child welfare worker turnover, while also advocating for initiatives to reduce it. 

RetailROI developed the calculator in collaboration with Avande X, Avanade’s digital creative consultancy specializing in Microsoft. It allows users to input up to seven variables for a quick calculation and offers a companion spreadsheet with over 40 customizable inputs for those with more detailed data. 

Recent estimates in the U.S. reveal that the annual cost of turnover among child welfare workers amounts to $22 billion nationally, affecting over 181,000 children who spend extended periods without a permanent home. Furthermore, the turnover reduces the chance of children in care finding permanence from 74.5% down to 17%.

RetailROI is a grassroots charitable organization made up of people in the retail industry who use their skillsets, networks, and funding to raise awareness and provide assistance for more than 400 million vulnerable children worldwide, including 143 million global orphans as well as foster children. 

"Social workers are the forgotten first responders," said former U.S. Senator and co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Mary Landrieu. "They are often overlooked and woefully underpaid but dedicate their lives to some of the most vulnerable children in America. These children whose families have collapsed around them depend on local and state government and community partners to help secure a future that has been put in jeopardy. 

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"When there is a high rate of turnover with social workers, there is a direct and negative impact on the speed and careful attention given to children in their caseload, oftentimes delaying permanency by months or years," said Landreau. "This high turnover rate is a significant barrier to children finding permanency and the government has a duty to do better for our youth by better supporting our workforce."

"When there is turnover, children often lose their advocate in the foster care system, leading to longer stays in care and increased court, transportation, and medical costs," said Greg Buzek, president of Retail Orphan Initiative. "The financial costs are simply part of the equation. The more important issue is the devastating impact this has on the lives of these children in care."

"The stories of these children and the dedicated social workers who support them touched my heart deeply," Pam Maynard, CEO of Avanade. "At Avanade, we are proud to contribute our technical expertise to this important project. Social workers play a crucial role in the well-being of children, and we are committed to supporting them and their mission to ensure every child can achieve permanency and stability."

The Cost of Social Worker Turnover calculator is available for free and can be accessed here. It is intended for use by states, agencies, legislators, news organizations, and other interested parties.

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