Community Care Licensing has announced to various foster agencies they will now be cross referencing contract social workers who work for 2 or more locations to ensure that foster care social workers will have a total of cases that does not exceed 15 foster children at any one time.
This is a relatively simple thing to do, easily done with a pencil and ledger. And while the intent is to insure that a contract social worker gives their full attention to a limited caseload there remains a significant flaw with this concept.
A contract social worker may still have many other jobs with county agencies. Therefore while a worker is limited to having 15 abused and neglected children on their caseload, other county funded jobs they may have will continue to undermine the intent of this enforcement of previous policy which was ignored for over a decade.
And why exactly was this ignored for so long? Perhaps because foster agency management as well as DCFS at all levels have a vested interest in allowing the current non-enforcement to continue as is.
The contract system is a significantly cheaper way for foster care agencies to provide case management services to foster children, allowing revenues to be diverted to higher and higher management salaries, especially the salaries of the CEO’s (as well as their assistant CEO spouses, bookkeeping family members and cousin Vinnie who is the I.T. specialist who maintains all the floppy drives).
If one examines those agencies which make the highest use of contract workers (as opposed to full-time salaried social workers) you will likely find the highest paid CEO’s and family members in the entire foster care agency system.
We know of no other way a contract social worker can survive on a living wage without having other employment. Since caseloads remain variable, income from such activity is limited to monies well below the typical salary of a kindergarten teacher. And recall the teacher has health and other benefits which the contract worker is completely lacking.
So apparently the county expects contract workers to have other jobs, just not with case managing foster children beyond a total of 15. We’re not sure therefore how this does any good and while we clearly do not advocate a social worker being allowed to burden themselves professionally to the point where they are no longer effective at their job, it would be foolish to think this new preoccupation with caseload will do anything to improve the lives of foster children.
But then that’s not the intent. The intent here is to demonstrate that the ineffective and unnecessary bureaucracy called Community Care Licensing is finally doing something to prove their worth in regulating foster agencies, guarding taxpayer finances and, oh yeah, ensuring the proper care and nurturing of abused and neglected children caught up in the system.
CCL’s position to this seems to be “Don’t worry, we looked into it, nothing to see here.” I wish this was true.