Research-To-Practice Brief

Identifying and Addressing Compassion Fatigue within TANF Programs: A Guide for Staff

Compassion can be defined as “feeling for” others who are in pain with warmth, empathetic concern, and the capacity to understand their perspective and intentions. Compassion is necessary for staff in human service settings to effectively engage clients, understand the context surrounding their journey and personal goals, and accurately identify a path forward and appropriate support services. But if we consider compassion as a finite resource, what happens if it runs out?

This brief, which was prepared in conjunction with PeerTA Podcast Episode 2: Combatting Compassion Fatigue, focuses on emerging issues from the perspective of a program staff member. The brief examines the following questions: What is compassion fatigue and why should I care about it? What are the factors that may lead to compassion fatigue and how might I recognize it? What steps can I take to help combat compassion fatigue and alleviate its effects? What can I learn from colleagues at other TANF programs about compassion fatigue?

Supportive Services
Health/Behavioral Health Referrals and Supports
Special Populations
TANF Program Administration
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