Proposed bill would reduce caseloads for social workers

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some New York State lawmakers are proposing a bill that would reduce caseloads for local social service district workers.

In 2017, Monroe County made changes to CPS including hiring more caseworkers and increasing their salaries.

That was after 3-year-old Brook Stagles was murdered in 2016. Her grandfather blamed the nearly unmanageable caseload sizes for why Stagles didn’t get help sooner.

The new bill would cap the number of cases per worker at 12. One local social worker said caseload size is directly correlated to child safety outcomes.

Deb Rosen is the executive director at Bivona Child Advocacy Center and she said this new bill is a good one.

“What we know is that when caseworkers have caseloads greater than 12, for instance, those outcomes tend to be negatively impacted. Children are less safe, children are less likely to receive the services they need and families are less likely to remain whole,” Rosen said.

Some of those negative impacts include children staying in the foster care system longer, moving around more often, or being in a less safe environment with their origin family. Families also have urgent needs that have to be met in a timely manner.

“A social worker’s experience is needing to juggle those needs constantly to make sure everybody is safe and to make sure everybody is able to access the service they need.”

Rosen said case overload isn’t a new problem.

“Monroe County for many years has experienced caseloads greater than within the recommended range. Over the course of the last two years, they have made some significant gains in reducing those caseloads but caseloads are still far higher than is recommended.”

The bill was introduced last week and is still in the early stages.

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