Report: DCF employees overworked, understaffed
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
An internal review by the Department of Children and Families highlights an overworked agency in need of help.
The report, which was commissioned by the head of Department of Children and Families last year, claims that many investigators are frustrated about being forced to be social workers when they believe their role is only to be investigative.
Caseworkers also complained that they’re overworked, and that high caseloads and the pressure to close cases in a timely fashion leaves many feeling burnt out and not supported.
State Representative Emily Slosberg, who sits on the state's Children Family and Senior Subcommittee, has been aware for some time that DCF caseworkers need help.
“They’re understaffed," she said. "They’re underpaid and there’s insufficient training."
Slosberg said a family recently came to her looking for help.
“They didn’t feel they were cooperating with them (and) that they were giving them the necessary time that their case needed,” Slosberg said.
There are 1,637 open child protective investigations in the southeast region, according to the DCF, but only 137 staff members working those investigations.
DCF secretary Mike Carroll released this statement:
The statewide average CPI caseload is currently less than 12 and in line with recommended standards. We remain committed to keeping workloads manageable throughout the state to support those doing this important work and the families we serve.
Carroll set a goal to maintain statewide average caseloads at 15 and for no investigator to have more than 25 at any given time.
There’s currently no department policy or law that mandates caseload limitations.