Department Head Listens to Recommendations from the Line, Adds Staff and Overtime to Aid 'Over 30s'
Over the last couple of weeks a team of social workers and SEIU 721 staff met with children's deputies in all five Board of Supervisors offices and with top DCFS management about our recommendations to improve child welfare in Los Angeles County.
Following those meetings, a group of management including Director Trish Ploehn met via phone conference Feb. 10. Social workers encouraged DCFS management to allocate the proper resources to close cases over 30 and best ensure children are safe and their cases are up to date.
Ploehn agreed to:
- Authorize overtime up to 94 hours per social worker per month for all CSWs in ER.
- Allow each office to create a team devoted to working on over 30 cases and authorized overtime for members of this team. The supervising social worker on this team will also qualify for overtime.
- Open offices on Saturdays.
Social workers discussed the need to focus attention on emergency response in meetings with children's deputies for the county supervisors. They also discussed social worker recommendations:
- Allocate necessary resources to ER. Social workers talked about the more than 16,000 children in LA County in an over 30 status and the need to properly address the situation.
- Access to forensic medical attention. All five Board offices shared that they are working with DHS, DMH and DCFS to get hubs up and running throughout the county.
- Coaching and mentoring. Social workers discussed the need to revise the ICU core academy, the 9-week training academy for all CSWs, so that it's more practical. This would include reinstituting training units that are full supported with reduced caseloads and lead CSWs.
- Basic tools. Social workers raised concerns about the lack of resources including access to working copy and fax machines and cell phones for supervising children's social workers.
In response, Martha Molina, children's deputy for Supervisor Gloria Molina said: "Every social worker should have a laptop and every supervising social worker should have a cell phone."