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Colorado child protective agencies still falling short despite pledges to increase staffing

Caseworker deficiencies are laid out in a new report from the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Credit: The Denver Gazette
Given the differences in population density in Colorado, the Child Protective Services staffing deficiencies could be more difficult to remedy outside the state's Front Range, where the total number of deficiencies is not as large, but where there are far fewer residents. Created with Datawrapper

DENVER — Across Colorado, the county agencies charged with investigating child abuse still need hundreds more caseworkers to keep up with caseloads, according to consultants hired by the state in 2016 after widespread failures in protecting abused children.

The caseworker deficiencies are laid out in a new report from the Colorado Department of Human Services, the state agency that oversees all child protective services in the state. This follows years of struggles to hit benchmarks developed after reports of child deaths, unabated abuse and a general lack of resources for the volume of child welfare cases prompted a workload audit in 2014.

In all, counties throughout the state need 346 additional caseworkers and 65 additional supervisors to manage the recommended number of caseworkers.

But the needs aren’t uniform. Some counties need dozens of additional staff to hit the state’s caseload-per-caseworker goals, while other counties exceed the benchmarks.

El Paso County is among the worst in the state when it comes to caseworker need, the state report shows. The county would need to hire 64 caseworkers, or about one-fifth of the total need in the state, and about 20 supervisors, or a little less than one-third of the total need statewide, to keep up with the county’s caseload.

>> Continue reading on DenverGazette.com.

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