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Title:Ceta Resource Utilization for Youth Served by a State Child Welfare Agency
Author(s):Spitzer, William John
Department / Program:Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social Work
Abstract:This study examines the issue of youth employment resource utilization for older adolescents who are dependent wards in the care of state child welfare agencies. Client populations of these agencies reflect an increasing number of 14-21 year old youth for whom employment and vocational training referral is appropriate. These youth are targeted for independence, but lack work experience, job skills and credentials necessary to secure gainful employment. In the absence of emotional and financial supports customarily provided by the natural family, these youth must depend on the state and agency. Without specialized employment-related casework assistance, the dependent status of these youth may be unnecessarily prolonged and agency termination made before youth can assume economic self-sufficiency. Although extensive youth employment programs exist through CETA prime sponsors, only limited use of these resources has been made on behalf of state wards.
The purpose of this research is to determine the factors which influence child welfare worker decisions to initiate referrals of adolescent clients for employment-related assistance. A theoretical framework was used consisting of resource dependency models in organizational literature which specify necessary preconditions for resource exchange. The study sample consisted of 130 caseworkers of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services having the highest and lowest youth employment referral rates in the state. Data regarding youth employment assistance was collected using a structured questionnaire and caseworker group interviews. Contingency analysis was used to compare whether the presence of preconditions to resource exchange affected referral decisions among sampled caseworkers.
Study findings revealed economic self-sufficiency as a primary casework goal. Although older youth made frequent requests for employment assistance, most caseworkers (88%) indicated they were unable to respond to such requests without specialized outside assistance. Caseworkers regarded indepth provision of youth employment assistance as an appropriate function of outside agencies, but lacked knowledge of available programs or referral processes. Caseworkers aware of youth employment program titles, eligibility requirements, referral processes and professional manpower staff were more likely to initiate youth referrals, positively evaluate local programs and recommend their use to other caseworkers. Ideological consensus among child welfare and employment/training personnel on youth causes of unemployment and child welfare agency emphasis on youth employment assistance also contributed to the use of outside resources.
Research findings suggest a redefinition of child welfare practice and adoption of a management model based on the needs and service demands of contemporary client populations. Recommendations are made for a service delivery system placing greater emphasis on considerations of youth employment issues. A comprehensive approach is proposed which stresses case management principles, active child advocacy stances by caseworkers with youth using outside resources, inclusion of youth employment issues in systematic case review, deployment of locally-based "youth employment specialists", staff training and development activities with community youth employment and child welfare staffs, increased reliance on formalized resource exchange agreements and provision for systematic planning input from child welfare staff on CETA prime sponsor youth councils. The applicability of these recommendations to other interorganizational relationships is pertinent given the uncertain future of CETA as an employment training program resource.
Issue Date:1981
Description:269 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127700
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-14
Date Deposited:1981

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