Social Workers/Case Management

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

Social Workers/Case Management provides salaries for case workers at the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Funding is intended to be sufficient to maintain caseloads for all case workers at a standard level of 18 to 1 statewide.

DCF caseworkers work directly with families to design case-plans, coordinate services and provide the support that families and kids need. Caseworkers, with the help of families and other partners, make important decisions that affect where kids are placed during their involvement with DCF, as well as where kids will live after their DCF involvement.

Working with families and partners to create a plan, building relationships and developing trust, assessing the strengths and needs of families, and other similar activities, all take time and require frequent thoughtful contact with clients.

In Massachusetts, caseworkers have a relatively large number of cases making it difficult to spend the time needed with each family. During most of FY 2015 DCF caseworkers have averaged just under 20 cases, and that number is rising. About half of all caseworkers—approximately 1,000—had more than 20 cases during the year. It is worth noting that the Child Welfare League of America has stated that 15 cases or families per caseworker is the maximum safe level.

Giving caseworkers safer case load levels could help them spend more time with families and earn the trust that is needed to help these families keep their kids safe and on a positive path at home and at school.

Funding for DCF Caseworkers (4800-1100) has increased recently, but so has the DCF caseload which is over 26,000 cases and at its highest level since the fourth quarter of FY 2009. Recent funding levels have not been sufficient to maintain safe case load levels.

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