DCS taking steps to prevent high caseloads, expecting to close hundreds of cases this weekend
“So, every time we hire someone we are chipping away at that caseload average,” commissioner Quin said. “We’ve revamped our hiring process.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services says a weekend blitz by employees is set to help close hundreds of cases and even prevent another crisis, similar to the one from the fall of 2022.
In 2022, DCS commissioner Margie Quin said there were more than 300 children in DCS custody using office buildings as bedrooms over the previous two years as case managers were overworked.
Now, efforts are in the works to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
On Thursday, dozens of DCS case managers were waiting for their assignments, knowing that the families inside their confidential folders are their priority during the first weekend of June.
The case managers will be hitting the streets in teams of two and will report what they find to the people sitting back at the in-office computers. The in-office workers will be narrowing down the families they need to focus on.
“Yes, this is a very innovative approach,” said forming DCS case manager Deshawn Harris.
Harris used to be a case manager like the workers that will be working over the weekend. He said he knows this surge could close anywhere between 100 and 200 cases.
By lowering caseloads and hiring more people, commissioner Quin hopes this will keep them out of a crisis.
“So, every time we hire someone we are chipping away at that caseload average,” Quin said. “We’ve revamped our hiring process. We’ve lengthened the time that it takes to hire. We are doing more interviews, we are doing more vetting. We’ve lengthened our training from nine weeks to 24 weeks.”
DCS has also increased the salary for case workers by almost $10,000. Harris says now there’s a waitlist for those who are wanting to apply.
“During the height when we were at our more challenging times, we’d maybe have 10, six or seven people on there. But now those reqs are full, they’re over 100 people,” Harris said.
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