Georgia is gaining national attention after new reports indicated once again that Georgia’s foster care system is desperately lacking in case workers.
The problem is not even as much that the Division of Family and Child Services can’t find workers, but instead that the turnover rate is extremely high.
Georgia DFCS reports that their turnover rate is 37 percent and as of the December, the agency was seeking 170 positions for child welfare case managers.
DFCS blames the low starting salary of just over $28,000 as one of the reasons so many leave, but stress, high caseloads, and burnout on the job also contribute to the turnover.
Couple that with the number of children in state foster care nearly doubling since 2013, a real problem is before the state of Georgia. DFCS reports that in 2013, 7,600 children were in the system, but now more than 13,200 children are under DFCS care. The increase is the highest nation. Each caseworker has an average 19 cases. The only reason the number per caseworker is down is because the state added 628 positions to the agency.
Georgia Health News reports:
In a related matter, state officials reached an agreement Monday involving a longstanding court order to improve its child protection system. The accord, approved by a federal judge, requires the state to reduce caseloads and stabilize staff turnover, the AJC reported.
DFCS has been under scrutiny for the past few years, and not only because of workloads and pay issues. The horrific deaths of two children, which led to criminal cases, brought more public and legislative attention to the program.
From 2006 to 2010, state funding for child welfare dropped by 39 percent, but in recent years, Governor Deal has worked to push the legislature to increase funds in the state budget.