Senators: High DSS caseloads mean children still at risk

South Carolina Department of Social Services
South Carolina Department of Social Services

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Despite the hiring of 170 caseworkers, high caseloads continue in South Carolina’s troubled Department of Social Services.

Deputy director Taron Davis told a Senate panel this week there are still 73 caseworkers in the state responsible for more than 50 children.

Davis acknowledges one Anderson County caseworker is responsible for 119 children. Agreeing with senators, she says it’s startling that caseloads have grown in some counties in the past six months.

She says the agency is evaluating how many more caseworkers it needs and whether grants will pay for temporary positions. The agency is also working with county directors to improve the distribution of cases.

Senators commended DSS for progress in retaining caseworkers. Last year, the turnover rate was 27 percent statewide, down from 39 percent in 2014.

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