Your union strives to keep money in your pocket – and we did!
As we all know, L.A. County is huge – 4,751 square miles in size to be exact, which is a larger land mass than the entire state of Delaware or Rhode Island. It’s also home to the largest population of any county in America. This means our DCFS client population is big relative to other counties.
Social workers and Human Services Agency staff inevitably have to travel very long distances just to do their jobs properly. But they haven’t always been compensated properly.
This is especially true for our workforce in northern L.A. County. It is not unheard of for Lancaster DCFS employees to travel all the way to LAX – a one-way distance of about 75 miles, with a one-way travel time of at least an hour and 40 minutes – but to receive zero overtime or mileage compensation for the entire journey home.
It’s bad enough that this compensation gap is commonplace. But it’s especially worrisome because of the State of California’s mandate for L.A. County to get rid of its Relative Foster Assessment backlog of 2,500 cases at DCFS.
All of us understand very well the importance of eliminating the notorious RFA backlog by evaluating, as quickly as possible, the families who have already made a commitment to supporting foster children. But without proper overtime and mileage compensation, we risk the very real possibility of DCFS staff being unable to meet this challenge. This leaves foster families in limbo, potentially putting vulnerable children at risk of greater harm.
In addition to the RFA backlog, unfair overtime and mileage compensation rules can impact the children and families we serve during the day-to-day work of child safety. It’s precisely why staff from DCFS Regional Offices pushed so hard for changes.
Thanks to their persistence and the power of our union, we did it! DCFS management recently announced that overtime and mileage compensation protocols for all Special Assignments will now include the final leg of travel time!
This change is important in principle for everyone, no matter how far they travel. But the changes are vital in practice particularly for DCFS employees whose job requirements leave them no choice but to drive massive distances – especially workers traveling from beyond the San Andreas Fault to LAX and back again, day after day.
At DCFS, our vocation is to keep children safe while helping families stay intact. The job is rewarding but it can also be a challenge – and this latest union victory will help us meet it.