DHS caseworker overload

Thursday, August 4th 2005, 4:45 pm
By: News On 6

They're overstressed, overworked and there are not enough of them to go around. We're talking about case workers for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Some caseworkers must work in multiple counties and many spend well over 40-hours a week doing their jobs. The number of cases DHS workers investigate is up. Last year, DHS investigated more than 60,000 cases, about 1,000 case workers and managers handle the tremendous load.

Workers prioritize and deal with the worst cases first and if one person becomes overloaded, another may step in to help protect the child.

DHS child welfare liaison Cheryl Thornton: "we're all looking and working to make sure that kids don't fall through the cracks, we're human and sometimes some of that may happen but I think in 20 years, we have a better system then we've ever had".

DHS says it asks the state legislature for more money every year to hire additional employees.