Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

Children and Youth Services Review


Although several studies have explored personal and organizational factors impacting retention and turnover in public or private agencies, there are no studies comparing the similarities and differences between voluntary and public child welfare settings. The research reported here is designed to contribute to knowledge about the differential factors that may contribute to worker retention and turnover in the voluntary (private, non-profit) and public child welfare sectors. The current research expands knowledge of the child welfare workforce by comparing the difference in factors contributing to job satisfaction and turnover between the voluntary and public child welfare sectors in a large urban community. The research includes workers from 202 voluntary agencies (n=538) and from one large public child welfare agency (n=144).The bivariate analyses revealed that public agency workers were more satisfied with their opportunities for promotion, benefits, and the nature of their work, whereas the voluntary agency workers were more satisfied with their co-workers. A structural equation model (SEM) revealed that lower investment in child welfare work was associated with intent to leave for both samples, as was lower satisfaction with contingent rewards and the nature of their work. Moreover, agency auspice was strongly predictive of intent to leave. Voluntary child welfare workers had stronger intentions to leave, despite the fact they displayed higher investment in child welfare work in the bivariate analysis. The key factor predicting voluntary agency workers' intention to leave was their dissatisfaction with their level of pay.



Published Citation

Auerbach, C., McGowan, B. G., Ausberger, A., Strolin-Goltzman, J., & Schudrich, W. (2010). Differential factors influencing public and voluntary child welfare workers' intention to leave. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(10), 1396-1402.

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