Dozens of social workers and community allies staged a protest in Whitinsville recently over what they call ‘crisis point’ caseloads at the Department of Children & Families (DCF) South Central Mass facility. The delegation elevated its demand for immediate action to reduce skyrocketing family caseloads at the DCF South Central Offices on Church Street. Caseloads at the facility have continued to rise in recent months, leading front-line staff to worry about the quality of care they are able to provide for the children and families they serve.
For years, social workers and support staff have expressed concerns over ever-increasing caseloads at the Department of Children & Families facilities – with many worried that the commonwealth’s most vulnerable children would not have access to the quality of services they require and deserve. The South Central DCF office has ranked among amongst the highest, with some social workers handling as many as 26 families at a time. Workers ultimately secured a monumental agreement with DCF that would reduce caseloads to more manageable levels, but have been told implementation could take up to two years. Front-line social workers penned a letter to DCF leaders outlining these issues and urging prompt action, hoping for some level of progress in the coming weeks.
“The South Central region has some of the highest caseloads in the state, and the problem is only getting worse,” said Peter MacKinnon, DCF Chapter President for SEIU Local 509. “We’re at a crisis point right now, and social workers need more help to ensure we can protect at-risk kids and keep families together.”
The Church Street facility provides a variety of services to Department of Children & Families clients throughout South Central Massachusetts – including domestic violence counseling, supervised visits for families and case management for children in foster care. Social workers advised concerned families to contact their legislators at (617)722-2000 and urge immediate implementation of the caseload reduction agreement at Department of Children & Families.