Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Jenny L. Jones


In this dissertation, the author argues that there is strong evidence that the child welfare workforce continues to be in crisis. While a great deal of research has indicated that supervision is closely linked to the crisis, extremely high rates of turnover have not been notably reduced through the efforts of administrators or academics to change supervisory practices. Therefore, the author makes the case that it is time to employ an alternative methodology—constructivist inquiry. Constructivist inquiry is based on paradigmatic assumptions that make it distinct from the functionalist approach that researchers most commonly use to understand the child welfare workforce crisis and the role of supervision. Consequently, the organization and content of this dissertation follow the conventions of a constructivist process. In order to take advantage of the unique role and opportunity created by the philosophical assumptions of subjectivity, interactivity, and reflexivity, the author incorporates an extensive discussion of her own tacit knowledge and practice wisdom along with the literature review. She then goes on to describe the phased, emergent, and participatory process used to examine the question: How do stakeholders in the local child welfare system value their experience of supervision? Finally, the author uses the data to tell the story in case report form and in a report of her own lessons learned. Through examination of the case report and lessons learned, the author intends for the reader to gain a more complex understanding of child welfare supervision and to evaluate for themselves how this understanding might be of value to their own role in the child welfare system.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012

Included in

Social Work Commons