The Utility of Manifest Needs Questionnaire (MNQ) for Better Selection and Training of Youth Workers in Therapeutic Residential Care: One Agency's Exploration

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Administrators of youth Therapeutic Residential Care (TRC) centers are faced with unique staffing challenges. The current study aims to investigate these challenges and the ways in which administrators at one agency face them, emphasizing specifically, staff motivation and staffing patterns. To do this, we assessed youth workers and cottage coordinators (administrators) at a rural therapeutic residential care center in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States by measuring a) what motivates staff to work at the agency as measured by the Manifest Needs Questionnaire (MNQ), b) what are the staffing patterns by performance and turnover, and c) what is the interrelationship between performance, turnover and MNQ needs. The results indicate that cottage coordinators exhibited significantly higher needs for achievement (as measured by the MNQ) than youth workers. Additionally, cottage coordinators were significantly higher on autonomy than youth workers. Lastly, both indicated low/moderate dominance and moderate/high affiliation with little difference between the two groups. Based on these results, we present recommendations on recruitment, training and teambuilding for TRC centers.