When asked how many years of experience workers had in various kinds of social work, there was a considerable amount of variability both between states and between FPS and public agency staff. Looking at social work in general, Kentucky staff averaged around 4-5 years with no significant differences between FPS and public agency staff; New Jersey FPS staff averaged 6.2 years and New Jersey public agency staff averaged 12.2 years - a statistically significant difference (p = .001); Tennessee staff averaged 7-8 years of experience with no significant differences between FPS and public agency staff.
The average amount of experience in child welfare social work was 3 to 5 years for Kentucky and Tennessee staff, with no significant differences between FPS and public agency workers. In New Jersey, FPS workers averaged 4.6 years experience in child welfare and public agency staff averaged 9.5 years - again, a statistically significant difference (p = .001).
On average, staff reported being in their current position for over a year, with public agency staff having spent a greater amount of time in their current positions than FPS staff in both New Jersey (5.3 vs. 1.7; p = .001) and Tennessee (3.9 vs. 1.9; p = .08). Particularly among public agency staff, the average number of years working in the agency was consistently higher than the average number of years working in their current positions (3.7 vs. 1.4 in Kentucky; 8.1 vs. 5.3 in New Jersey; 4.9 vs. 3.9 in Tennessee). This may be indicative of the amount of turnover that occurs among positions but within the public agencies.
Although no effort was made to track the number of workers who left the agency during the timeframe of this study, workers were asked about their future employment plans. In each of the three states, a higher proportion of public agency staff reported that they were either "looking for other employment" or "have definite arrangements to take another job" (17% vs. 12% in Kentucky; 15% vs. 0% in New Jersey; p = .03 (Fisher's exact); and 27% vs. 19% in Tennessee).