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Webinar 22: Building the Evidence Base for Social Service Workforce Strengthening

Webinar Summary and Recording

Click here to access the complete recording of the webinar.

On November 9, 2016, the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance hosted its 22nd webinar in the Social Service Workforce Strengthening Webinar Series funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through PEPFAR and held in collaboration with the 4Children Project.

This webinar reviewed two resources recently produced by the Building Evidence for Social Service Workforce Strengthening Interest Group of the Alliance: The Evidence Base on the Social Service Workforce: Current Knowledge, Gaps and Future Research Direction along with The Evidence Matrix for the Social Service Workforce. These documents consolidate and review the current state of evidence on strengthening the social service workforce around the world to identify the most critical gaps and priority research needs pertinent to strengthening the workforce.​

Amy Bess, Director of the Alliance, began the webinar by reviewing the framework for effectively planning, developing and supporting the workforce. She then highlighted the two existing Alliance interest groups, which are volunteer-driven and a means to co-develop products and tools intended to advance knowledge, discussion and solutions related to the interest group topic.

Jini Roby, JD, MSW, MS, Professor, School of Social Work, Brigham Young University, then highlighted the process for identifying and analyzing evidence on social service workforce strengthening. A working group meeting in June 2016 brought together experts to review and discuss existing data compiled into a matrix of 200 resources.  They also identified prioritized research questions to address gaps in available data. These findings were compiled into an outcomes paper in order to provide suggestions for priority research areas.  Jini shared findings presented in these two documents and discussed key issue areas regarding the planning, development and support of the workforce.

Participants then discussed next steps on how to operationalize these research questions. Becky Davis, US, stressed that it’s important for programs to have a system in place for monitoring and evaluation, in order to track interventions and integrate findings immediately into the work. Samuel Munyuwiny, Kenya, stated that it’s important for CSOs to have some authority in developing the training of social service staff in collaboration with the government for quality assurance and retention measures. Jane Calder, Thailand, shared an example of how client feedback is driving training development. Save the Children Myanmar staff conduct exit interviews with families and children and their feedback helps to refine the competency-based training workers receive. Zeni Thumbadoo, South Africa, discussed some of the research coming out of the Isibindi model and the potential to partner with a group in China to develop the model there.

The evidence review paper and matrix are intended to be living documents that are updated as new research becomes available. The webinar was concluded by encouraging participants to share any resources with the Alliance for incorporation.