Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Simon, James


Child welfare is recognized as a stressful and overwhelming career the demands of which can result in poor retention and high turnover. Many factors contribute to the high turnover including, high caseloads, unmanageable administration requirements, challenging clients, and increasing amount of paperwork. Thus, this study aimed to explore child welfare social workers’ understanding of burnout and compassion fatigue, its effects on their work, and how self-care is integrated into their daily practice to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. The study used qualitative methods to explore burnout and compassion fatigue among seven child welfare social workers employed by a large child welfare agency in Southern California, and a conventional content analysis resulted in the identification of several themes that included the perception and effects of burnout and compassion, preventative actions, and self-care. The results showed experienced child welfare social workers share similar perceptions of the effects burnout and compassion fatigue has on their practice, including emotional exhaustion and job dissatisfaction. The results also showed they integrate self-care practice in their practice to lessen the effects of burn out and compassion fatigue. In addition, experienced child welfare social workers prioritized their overall well-being over their job duties or other stressful factors on the field, to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue in order to perform effectively on the job. The finding suggests that child welfare social workers benefit from integrating self-care in their practice and prioritizing their personal well-being from the start of their career helps to overcome barriers and challenges over time.

Included in

Social Work Commons