Cagle reinstates overtime for child protective services

November 26, 2014

Georgia Division of Family and Children Services Director Bobby Cagle on Tuesday reinstated a strategy aimed at maximizing staff resources for child protection in Georgia. 

Beginning Dec. 1, DFCS child protective services investigators will work a minimum of eight hours paid overtime per week. The strategy is targeted toward preventing a major backlog of child safety investigations, which have resulted from an unprecedented increase in reports of abuse and neglect statewide.

Since the implementation of a 24-hour, centralized reporting mechanism for abuse and neglect, the number of new child safety investigations has nearly doubled in Georgia.

DFCS opened more than 5,000 new investigations into child safety in September, compared with 2,555 new investigations opened in September 2013.

Under agency policy, investigations into child safety should be completed in 45 days, unless the circumstances call for more time. Due to the agency’s growing caseload, about 1,000 investigations across the state have been open longer than the agency standard.

“Our primary focus must continue to be about the safety of Georgia’s children,” Cagle said. “Use of mandatory overtime will allow us to assure children and families have their needs met during what can be a difficult time of year, especially for families already under tremendous stress.”

Cagle employed a similar strategy shortly after  Gov. Nathan Deal appointed him to lead the Division in June 2014. At the time, there were more than 3,300 overdue investigations across the state.

“This is a short-term, proactive strategy that has worked for DFCS and other agencies I’ve led in the past,” Cagle said. “Given the success of our centralized intake, and the impact it has had on the number of reports of abuse and neglect we receive on a daily basis, we must do what we can to stem the tide of overdue cases and prevent an even larger backlog.”

The current overtime strategy will focus on cases that are overdue and those that are nearing the 45-day deadline. Staff will not be expected to work overtime on holiday weeks.

Prior to the 2014 legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal committed state funding to reduce investigators’ caseloads to 15 per worker over a three-year period.

The first installment of funding allowed DFCS to hire 278 additional case managers in Fiscal Year 2015. Georgia’s Board of Human Services has recommended that the Fiscal Year 2016 budget allow DFCS to add another 278 case managers in July 2015.

Contact Information: 
Media Contact: Ravae Graham rdgraham@dhr.state.ga.us

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