DCS Case Manager: caseloads leading to more child abuse

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 8, 2015) - Child abuse numbers are on the rise across Indiana, according to officials in Marion County, we are facing a child abuse epidemic.

For the first time a DCS case manager is speaking out about being burdened and consumed by more than 40 child abuse and neglect cases.

“It’s extremely important of our job to be able to go see our kids and be able to engage with them and engage in whoever’s taking care of them. That’s how these things get missed and we have these fatalities,” she said.

She is slammed with more than 40 cases. It’s that case load she says, that is a direct cause of child abuse casualties in the state. This woman, fearful that in speaking with us, she would lose her job, asked that we conceal her identity.

“We would love to be able to see our kids weekly if we could but we can’t. We’re lucky to be able to see them all in a month and sometimes people aren’t even seeing their kids in a month because there’s just not enough time. We’re expected to do a lot of paper work things. We’re expected to go to court. Court can take hours of just waiting,” she said.

In Marion County, 260 case workers are responsible for thousands of children.  DCS told us on June 2, 2015, their managers in Marion County had on average 17 cases each. Documents exclusively obtained by FOX59 show that figure is more than double what DCS administrators are claiming and well above the Indiana state required maximum limit of 17 cases.

The document show some teams are averaging 40, 42, 45 cases, with the average for every case manager in Marion County coming in at 35 cases.

“Ultimately at the end of the day it is our job as case managers to ensure the safety of these children. We are hired in and we are sworn in to make sure that we’re making sure these children are safe and because of our case loads, we’re unable to do that,” she said.

Caseloads are also leading to burn out. Turnover said this case manager, is constant at DCS. She said there are new hires every few weeks. The constant turnover she claims further burdens the already slammed case managers.

The state, though, is trying to help this crisis.  The General Assembly approved the hire of 100 more case managers.

“Well that means that Marion County alone is not getting 100 and we could easily take it. If our state maximum is supposed to be 17 and I’m carrying over 40, do the math, I’m doing the work of more than two people,” said that case manager in response to the new hires.

A spokesperson from DCS responding to these accusations said a DCS case manager cannot make the link that case loads are directly responsible for child abuse fatalities.

They also said case managers know if they are having issues with work load, they can always speak to their supervisors.

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