The State Division of Family and Children Services, or DFCS, is currently hiring an additional 175 case workers to help relieve an overburdened system. Two Georgia children died last year, leading to calls for changes in the child protection system.
DFCS Spokeswoman Ravae Graham admits that some workers in metro Atlanta have been dealing with as many as 100 cases.
“Those caseloads that were mostly a combination of investigations, family support or family preservation cases. It’s important to note that not all open cases may be active,” said Graham. “However, these may be cases that require final documentation prior to closure.”
Graham says because of heightened awareness and additional reporting requirements, the number of reports in Georgia is on the rise.
“In the last six months the number of reports of abuse or neglect made to DFCS has risen from an average of 6,000 reports per month to 7,300 per month.”
Linda Spears, with the Child Welfare League of America, says they recommend caseloads of 12 to 17 families per worker in child protection cases.
The state hopes to have the new caseworkers in place by July first.
A council created by Governor Nathan Deal is studying the child welfare system. The panel hopes to have recommendations for the 2015 General Assembly.