Arizona Child Welfare System Struggling To Retain Caseworkers

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 7:58am

Arizona’s child welfare system says it needs money for staff to lighten crushing caseloads. But legislators at Tuesday’s committee hearing questioned the agency’s turnover rate. The Arizona Department of Child Safety is operating with fewer caseworkers than the state allotted. In the last nine months, DCS has lost nearly 200 case-carrying workers. 

Senator Steve Farley, after hearing the agency’s caseworker turnover rate is 36 percent, questioned Director Greg McKay about how he plans to hire and keep caseworkers. 

“You do believe that you are going to somehow get to the 1,406 positions that we have authorized,” Farley asked. 

“I do,” McKay responded, “We are heartened by the expansion of our training programs.” 

McKay says the agency has expanded advanced training curricula. However, between December 2014 and December 2015 the agency’s caseworker training graduation rate declined nearly five-fold.