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Union: CPS workers handling cases loads 2.5 times more than recommended

January 27, 2017 11:14 PM

Last year, police say three-year-old Brook Stagles was beaten to death.

Shortly after, her father and his girlfriend were arrested and charged in connection to her death.

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Brook's grandfather has said he believes her death could have been prevented. He told News10NBC investigators with Child Protective Services didn't follow up on complaints.

Because of that, News10NBC wanted to know about the caseload CPS investigators carry and if that number could be putting children at risk.

The union that represents the county's CPS workers, the Federation of Social Workers, says CPS investigators are carrying on average caseloads two and a half times the recommendation.

We took these numbers to the county's Commissioner of Human Services Corinda Crossdale. She was not shocked by the numbers we showed her.

As of December of last year, caseworkers doing investigations with Child Protective Services were handling on the average 29.1 cases. That's up from 26.7 cases just a month earlier. What's shocking: As many as eight investigators have 40 to 49 cases.

"We do recognize that there are some challenges and since 2016, measures have been put in place," says Crossdale. "We increased our number of training classes from two to three. We double fill, so if we have 15 vacancies in a class, that's trend is going to continue on through 2017. Our goal is to have zero vacancies."

Crossdale wants to make sure the numbers aren't taken out of context. She says some of the cases are cases simply where the family needs help connecting to resources.

"We want there to be some recognition and acknowledgement that CPS is in crisis," says John Rabish.

Rabish spent 27 years as a CPS worker and now sits on the Federation of Social Workers Board.

"As human service professional, we feel we have a moral and ethical responsibility to let the community know that having inadequate staffing puts the most vulnerable children in the community at risk," says Rabish.

Rabish wants to see a comprehensive plan and timeline when the county will hire case workers. He wants to see enough hired to reduce the caseloads.

"There are no experts -- that I've ever heard of -- that would tell us that 29 or 30 cases is a reasonable workload for a CPS investigator," says Rabish.

Credits

Lynette Adams

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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