Virginia Department of Social Services

Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is a state-supervised, locally-administered child welfare system. The system includes approximately 2,000 staff, spread out across 120 local departments of social services (LDSS). In 2016, VDSS had a turnover rate of 29% among their entry level Family Services Specialists. They were working to implement technology tools for the workforce when they applied to be a Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD) site.


During the needs assessment process, a theory of change was developed for the primary area of need identified in partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). Through a series of steps and causal links, a theory of change provides a roadmap to address the root causes of an identified workforce problem and describes how and why changes are expected to lead to the desired outcomes.

What are technology supports and why were they selected?

Can Technology Reduce the Stress of the Child Welfare Practitioner?
This post summarizes some of the research about the relationship between child welfare work and how technology can impact the stress of the job.
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The Implementation Team

The QIC-WD evaluation was conducted with the support of the Virginia Department of Social Services to determine if a Case-Supportive Technology intervention was effective in improving workforce and child welfare outcomes. 

Research Questions

The site-level evaluation for Virginia was designed to understand implementation of and outcomes related to two technology innovations: (1) transcription and (2) a mobility application. See the Intervention Overview for more information. 

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and the QIC-WD designed a multi-phase case-supportive technology intervention to help child welfare caseworkers complete their case notes and other administrative tasks required as part of their job. The decision by VDSS to implement technological supports for caseworkers was informed by two data collection efforts:

1. Listening sessions, held by VDSS staff in each region of the state, and

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is a state-supervised and locally- administered social services system. There are 120 local departments of social services (LDSS) composed of approximately 2,000 employees who are responsible for providing child welfare services.

Each QIC-WD site developed a logic model to serve as a visual representation of their selected intervention. All logic models included four main components: inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes. Collectively, these demonstrate the resources and actions required to implement the program, as well as the associated result or changes anticipated through implementation of the program. The hypothesized relationships are represented by the pathways connecting the listed activities and anticipated outcomes. For more information see Site Overview