Social worker and Local 843 member Charles Loeffler today before the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing committee on how SB how SB5498 could be opportunity to stop the revolving door on social workers and improve outcome for kids. Could be if resources to recruit and retain qualified social workers is part of the plan.
DCYF = Department of Children, Youth and Families, SB 5498
"Children's social workers serve kids who almost uniformily have experienced trauma. Their journey through foster care involves uncertainty and often instability. For everyone involved, the task of mitigating family safety threats is sensitive, difficult and contentious work.
"The only way to effectively do the job of social work is through skilled resource brokerage and above all, cultivation of trusting relationships. Yes the combination of high stress work in dangerous environments, pay that does not remotely measure up to market rate for the advanced degrees required and the state's continued failure to comply with the 2008 Brahm settlement to ensure manageable workloads in CA has contributed to a resolving door of social workers in this vital areas of public need.
"The dramatic turnover of social workers is problematic in many ways, but the most important one is its impact on the children and families we aim to serve.
"The revolving door stalls progress in reunifying families, adds even more instability to children's lives, and reinforces the notion that nobody really is there for them, never has been and never will be.
"As the committee debates the merits of the recommendations regarding a new Department of Children, Youth and Families, I hope the members will keep at the forefront that not even the best-planned organizational restructure will successfully better outcomes for Washington's kids if it does not also place emphasis on staunching the outlflow of overworked, burnt-out social workers.
"Meaningful reduction in workloads, and funding of our negotiated contracts currently before the Legislature will be vital to ensuring success in whatever organization structure this committee deems best.