Hubbard County adds two new child protection workers
The Hubbard County Board approved hiring two additional child protection workers for social services, with a goal of avoiding out-of-home placement of children. The majority of the funding for the supervisor and child protection worker positions ...
The Hubbard County Board approved hiring two additional child protection workers for social services, with a goal of avoiding out-of-home placement of children. The majority of the funding for the supervisor and child protection worker positions will be realized from the Department of Human Services via legislation, Social Services director Daryl Bessler said of $145,000 being allocated to the county for child protection staffing and services. “Will this be ongoing?” commissioner Cal Johannsen asked of the funding. “I believe it will be,” Bessler told commissioners. Currently, social services has five child protection workers whose caseloads range from 16 to 20 families. “But a case is not a case,” supervisor Michelle Fischer explained. One case can range from a single child to several kids, depending on family size. Legislation is calling for 10 cases for each worker.
The child protection workers deal with “a lot” of parental alcohol and drug use, which often leads to domestic violence. “Then we have to intervene,” Fischer explained. Social services is also seeing an increase in reports of prenatal drug use, she said, for which services can be offered. But this would not be considered a “case” prenatally. Child protection workers address juvenile probation placements, teen moms, if they are receiving benefits, and truancy issues. If a child below a certain age is missing significant school days, it’s considered education neglect, she explained, requiring intervention. During the 2015 legislative session, $23 million-plus was appropriated annually for DHS allocation to county agencies for child protection staff and services. “The intent of the legislation is to improve the current child protection worker caseloads so that more timely case work will occur to support children in need of protection,” the DHS explains in a bulletin.
To receive the allocation, child protection workers must have timely face-to-face contact with at least 90 percent of all alleged child victims in maltreatment reports. “The child protection staff sees a constant turnover,” Johannsen said. “It’s a stressful job. It makes sense to add more staff.”