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March 2010Vol. 11, No. 2The Frontline Worker: Then and Now

What's changed for the frontline child welfare worker over the last decade? Plenty! Laws, procedures, technology, resources, and more. While not every worker has access to all of the resources mentioned below, changes in both policy and practice have had an impact on all workers. See if you recognize some of the changes.

Inputting case information by handLaptops and PCs
PagersCell phones                                    
Paper desk calendarsMS Outlook calendar
Less data collected for home studiesMore data collected for home studies
Paper forms in the "form room"Online forms
Polaroids to document abuse and neglectDigital and video cameras for documentation
Kinship caregivers operating in isolationSupport groups and national organizations for kinship caregivers
Hard copy resources gathered at conferences and from libraries, coworkers, trainers, and networkingOnline resources and libraries (but we still like those hard copies!)
Less emphasis on finding fathers and paternal relativesFather engagement and family finding
Educating the public about preventing child abuseEducating the public about strengthening families and communities
Hard copy photo albums of children available for adoptionAdoption photolistings on the Internet
Adoption and Safe Families ActFostering Connections
Leaving work to attend trainingsOnline trainings                             


One thing that hasn't changed: Frontline workers continue to provide invaluable services to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families.