Department of Social Services requests 200 more workers to reach caseload goals

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A deputy director at the Department of Social Services says the agency needs 200 more employees to reach goals for worker caseloads.

Jessica Hanak-Coulter said Wednesday that 202 employees would be needed to keep caseloads at or below proposed limits for the number of cases and children each worker should handle at one time.

Hanak-Coulter testified before a Senate panel reviewing operations of the agency.

The 25 percent boost in employees would cost $10 million. Senators on the panel pointed out that the agency has made only one request for new caseworkers in the past four years.

The Senate panel began the review after child welfare advocates said the agency was missing abuse cases that led to children dying. The agency got approval earlier this year to hire 50 more caseworkers.

The proposed 109 caseworkers, 79 supervisors and second-shift relief for the day-time caseworkers would help Social Services lower caseloads, Hanak-Coulter said.

The agency wants each child abuse investigator to handle cases involving no more than 24 children. Foster care workers would handle no more than 14 to 20 children ideally.

The new positions would reverse a four-year decline in the number of child-protective services and foster care positions at the agency. Those positions have dropped by 255, or 18 percent, since 2009.

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hoptoad 07/25/14 - 07:55 am
What a shame that our country

What a shame that our country which is supposed to be one of the most civilized, has to admit that more case workers are needed to handle uncivilized behavior toward each other and our nation's children.

Many child abuse cases are a result of single mothers leaving their children with a boyfriend who harms, murders or molests them, or mothers just leaving them alone to fend for themselves.

If benefits were limited for only the period of time it would take for these mothers to go to school or get a job, the birth rate would take a dive.

And if our schools would teach all youngsters the basics of economics, the importance of education, the advantages of marriage before child birth, instead of how to put condoms on a banana. And if communities would encourage young men and women to be responsible perhaps this would cut down on unwed births. Young men need role models to learn how to be a husband and father - what about families, communities, churches and schools promoting that?

It would be free and not another burden on taxpayers.

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