More social workers needed in Chippewa County

Chippewa County (WQOW)- The meth epidemic in Chippewa County continues to be an issue, prompting calls for more social workers.

The interim director for the Chippewa County Department of Human Services, Tim Easker, said with 180 children in foster care because of meth-related issues, there’s not enough social workers to handle all of these cases. 

He said they want one additional child protective services social worker and three comprehensive community service social workers.

Easker said the three comprehensive community service social workers won’t cost the county any money because it’s fully funded by the medicaid program, and the child protective services social worker position is already budgeted for. 

Easker said they want more social workers to help even out the case load.

"Standard should be roughly no more than 16 depending on if you’re doing an initial assessment or ongoing, but our folks are averaging about 24 cases at the present time and that does not allow for good case work. What happens then is that we often see kids end up in foster care much longer than they should be than if our social workers had manageable case loads," Easker said. 

Easker said they are $500,000 over budget on placement costs. 

He said an investment in workers will save them money on placement costs in the end, and kids will find a permanent home sooner. 

A decision on the additional social workers should be reached at the next county board meeting on September 11. 

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