Worker caseloads increasing
The Lincoln County Department of Social Services will hire three new social workers by the end of October in order to better handle caseloads.
â€œItâ€™s really needed because our reports are constantly increasing,â€ said Lynn Scruggs, assistant to the director. â€œWeâ€™re averaging around 85 reports a month.â€
Funding for the new positions comes from the state. The General Assembly appointed $5 million statewide to go towards children servicesâ€™ staffing issues, and Lincoln County will receive $158,000 of that fund. The funds are recurring.
â€œThereâ€™s no cost to the county,â€ said Scruggs.
Lincoln County was chosen to receive the funds after a survey examining social workersâ€™ caseloads was conducted. The average caseload per social worker is 10 to one for counties using the Multiple Response System (MRS).
Children services social workers in Lincoln County, which does operate under MRS, have an average caseload of 12 to one.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot of burn-out in that department,â€ said Larry Craig, a county commissioner and member of the Board of Social Services.
The department currently has eight investigators who research charges of child abuse or neglect and five treatment social workers who take over a situation once the reports are confirmed.
The new funds will go toward hiring two new investigators and one new treatment worker.
â€œWe are grateful to have them,â€ said Susan McCracken, director of the DSS.by Sarah Grano