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Friday, January 25, 2013 - 3:56am

Commissioner: Child Care Agency Needs Staff

The state's human service commissioner says Georgia's child protection agency needs more caseworkers as the economy improves and budget restrictions lift.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioners Clyde Reese III told lawmakers Thursday that child welfare workers handle an average of 17 cases outside of Fulton and DeKalb counties. To settle a lawsuit, Georgia has kept the caseload lower for workers in those two metro Atlanta counties.

Reese said his agency tries not to "overload" its caseworkers, but he called it a difficult challenge to manage.

He said staffing in his department's child protection agency is effectively at a "floor," meaning it should not go lower.

Gov. Nathan Deal has recommended $1.6 billion in funding for the department for the fiscal year starting in July.