There are almost 30,000 children in Texas’ foster care system with over 300 of those in the Permian Basin. Easily one of the most critical relationships they have is with their CPS Caseworker. So critical is this relationship that 75% of the children in the system with one caseworker will reach permanency, while that number drops to 15% if a child has more than one caseworker. Unfortunately, job changes are quite frequent in the states child welfare system. TexProtects goes on to report that Investigator’s turnover rates are twice the average rate of turnover for DFPS and those caseworkers that are directly responsible for children in the foster system, Conservatorship (or CVS), turnover at a rate almost 20% higher than the average DFPS employee. As it stands, 36%
of caseworkers will resign in 2 years while almost 80% will resign in within 5 years. And as if the human impact is not enough, according to TexProtects the state shells out $54,000 to train each new caseworker, which does not include salary.
The bottomline is this, the state pays a lot of money to prepare great people for a very difficult job. With turnover as high as it is, its likely that the public is not getting the return it needs on the investment. Additionally, the department likely misses out on a highly productive work environment that benefits from the rich knowledge of an experienced caseworker. Last, and probably the worst byproduct of high turnover is that children can fall through the cracks of the government system and never get back with their parents, never get matched with an adoptive family, nor even connect with a permanent foster family.
Righting this ship is a monumental task with implications at both the state and federal levels but that does not mean that we can do nothing. In our newest initiative, The Attic Foster Network will be connecting the CPS Caseworkers of Midland and Odessa with volunteers within the church community to provide them with encouragement, moral support, and help with the tangible needs of their clients. For caseworkers, we ask that they merely fill out a short survey to help us get to know them so we can match them with the best volunteer. Volunteers will do the same, helping us to make the best match and provide a bit of direction on how to best serve caseworkers.
If you are interested in the program check it out on our web page and follow the links to get started.
We all can’t do everything but if we all do what we can then change will happen.