I have a group task/request for you all. I am part of a government working group here in Manitoba that is developing a report on wages and retention of Child and Youth Care Practitioners here in Manitoba. We are looking to support an argument that children and youth who are cared for by trained CYCP is more cost effective that having them cared for by untrained staff or by having them end up on the mental health or justice track. Does anyone have a line on any studies or peer reviewed papers that I can take a look at?
Here’s a reference and abstract that may be helpful. It shows, among other things, that certified practitioners (e.g. those who have demonstrated their ability to use situational judgment and reflect on their practice) are 2.7 times more likely to be high performers.
Curry, D., Eckles, F., Stuart, C., Schneider-Munoz, A. J., & Qaqish, B. (2013). National child and youth work certification: Does it make a difference? Children and Youth Services Review, 35 (11), 1795-1800. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740913002612
This article examines the impact of professional
certification on worker performance as well as the incremental validity
of key facets of the national child and youth care practitioner
certification (e.g., education, years of experience, certification exam,
and professional portfolio) sponsored by the Association for Child and
Youth Care Practice and administered by the Child and Youth Care
Certification Board. Findings reveal that certified practitioners
receive higher performance ratings from their supervisors than
non-certified practitioners. Education, experience level, certification
exam result (pass/fail), and successful completion of the application
packet including a professional portfolio were all significant
predictors of performance (as reported by supervisors). Each component
progressively accounts for additional variance in the performance
criterion. Certified practitioners are 2.7 times more likely to be high
performers than non-certified practitioners after accounting for the
effect of race, gender, education, experience and certification exam
I would suggest that you look into European literature (European countries like Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, France and so on). These countries generally require staff who care for children and youth to be well educated and many study social pedagogy as well as courses specific to child development, and they are respected professionals.
In contrast, it seems like North America, namely, USA and Canada have a long way to go as far as recognizing how stratification of societies with children being the bottom priority impacts children's mental health, growth, development and future prospects. The educational requirements to care for and work with children and youth vary widely in North America, and very little recognition or respect is afforded those who do an extremely critical job; a job that really can impact the future of not only the children and youth they work with but entire communities and larger societies.
Much of all of this is unfortunately politically determined, and as long as we North Americans are living in patriarchal political climates where the grey suite dominates, not much will change. The stratification will always place children at the bottom of the hierarchy; affecting how much CYCP's are paid and how much is invested in education.
Perhaps if minimum educational requirements are mandated and salaries increased, staff will be retained; improving therapeutic relationships and prospects for children to grow and change. A big problem for children and youth in systems like the care system is that staff turn over rates are high. High staff turnover does not bode well for children and perhaps it might be helpful in your research to look at how attachment can help or hinder children and youth.
There is a lot of research that illustrates how much a consistent presence (like a youth worker) can make to a youth or child (Broffenbrenner's model comes to mind).
I read recently American statistics from two different studies on the cost benefits to society through early intervention. (Dearing, McCartney, & Taylor, 2009) (Karoly, Kilburn, and Cannon, 2005).
Below are journal articles that demonstrate a relationship between child and youth care certification and job performance. Within the literature reviews of several of the articles, sources are cited documenting the relationship between the quality of the workforce and program improvement/quality; leading to better outcomes for children and youth across child and youth work practice settings.
Curry, D., Eckles, F., Stuart, C., Schneider-Munoz, A. J., & Qaqish, B. (2013). National child and youth work certification: Does it make a difference? Children and Youth Services Review. 35(11), 1795-1800.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740913002612 doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.08.005
Child and Youth Care Certification Board (2011). National child and youth care practitioner professional certification examination. Training and Development in Human Services, 6, 119-128.
Curry, D. Eckles, F., Stuart, C., & Qaqish, B. (2010). National child and youth care practitioner professional certification: Promoting competent care for children and youth. Child Welfare, 89, 57-77.
Curry, D., Qaqish, B., Carpenter-Williams, J., Eckles, F., Mattingly, M., Stuart, C., & Thomas, D. (2009). A national certification exam for child and youth care workers: Preliminary results of a validation study. Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, 22, 152-170.
Related fields (child welfare social work) have done a significant amount of research demonstrating a relationship between training/quality of the workforce/workforce stability and performance leading to better outcomes. Below is an article pertaining to my own research that documents a relationship between support for training and transfer of learning and worker (child protective services social worker) long-term retention. Other studies have demonstrated the relationship between retention and cost effectiveness.
Curry, D., McCarragher, T. & Dellmann-Jenkins, M. (2005). Training, transfer and turnover: The relationship among transfer of learning factors and staff retention in child welfare, Children and Youth Services Review, 27 (8), 931-948.
And to take a radical view you could see if there are comparative studies of other professionals e.g doctors, dentists, engineers and compare pre and post eras when there was no formal training and then when formal training began. What are the comparative mortality rates?
The question would be in simple terms does it make a difference if a doctor is trained and educated in the effectiveness and cost benefits of care they provide.
Of course I am being somewhat ironic.
Also you may want to connect with Carol Stuart directly about some of her other research she did when at Ryerson. Others you may want to connect with might include Kiaras Gharbaghi and James Anglin.
Another perspective, if you need to make a bigger case, is all the research that has gone into the need for high-quality day care and its impact on Human Development. I am assuming that a component of the "high quality" dimension aspect is staff credentials. This has been researched extensively and translated into cost benefit terms and also done transnational. Check out Fraser Mustard's work and references; Perry High Scope Project. Cleveland et al at U of T did the economic analysis.
Also you could look at another case example which is Finland's consistent high standing in educational attainment. One of the components of their model is to insist on high quality education for teachers....and it is showing consistent positive results that outstrip other countries and also challenges that the way to go is through standardized curriculum and testing.