Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) is a state-operated child welfare system, but hiring has always been done locally. The agency is divided into five field regions serving 27 districts and 77 counties. In 2017, OKDHS employed 1,780 Child Welfare Specialists (caseworkers) and 388 supervisors. That same year, the annual turnover rate was 25%. They applied to be a QIC-WD site with the goal of strengthening their child welfare workforce. 


What is competency-based personnel selection and why was this intervention selected?

During the needs assessment  process three areas of opportunity were discussed for possible intervention at the Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) Division of Child Welfare Services:  

  1. hiring of new workers,
  2.  promotion decisions for lead worker and supervisor positions, and
  3.  staff recognition and rewards.

Ultimately, one theory of change was developed to step through the “if, then” logic for implementation of a standardized hiring process to improve worker retention and performance. 

The Implementation Team

The QIC-WD evaluation was conducted with the support of the Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) to determine if a Competency-based Personnel Selection process was effective in improving workforce and child welfare outcomes.

A Competency-based Personnel Selection process was the intervention designed as part of the QIC-WD project to address inconsistencies in hiring and to identify candidates with the desired competencies to be hired as Child Welfare Specialist (CWS) I/II with Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) (for more information see the Site Overview). The Competency-based Personnel Selection process is a standardized hiring procedure that includes a structured interview with behaviorally anchored rating scales, a typing assessment, and a writing assessment.

The Child Welfare Services division of Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) is a state-administered child welfare agency. The OKDHS divisions are supported by centralized operations including Human Resource Management (HRM). A small team of human resources professionals within Child Welfare Services work closely with HRM to support Child Welfare Services’ personnel needs.

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.