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KY director of social workers' group sees promise in state budget

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Stu Johnson
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Kentucky State Capitol

The state budget being discussed this week in Frankfort seems to show agreement from all involved about the need for more social workers. Well over 500 social service and social workers have left the profession over the last year or so. Brenda Rosen is director of the Kentucky chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She said the budget includes funding for 200 more workers.

“You know with the bleed out of last year 200 is so desperately needed, but we need more. We can’t seem to kind of catch up with the loss of social workers,” said Rosen.

Rosen calls it the toughest job in the state. Social workers are charged with, in some cases removing children from the home, sometimes reunification, and conducting investigations. She noted these workers are overworked and their schedules have expanded even more.

“Caseloads of, you know, 60 clients. You can’t do…That just doesn’t work. I mean the average caseload should be under 20,” said Rosen.

The budget also includes money for an eight percent pay raise in the first year and up to 12% in the second. Rosen said that should help with recruitment and retention.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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