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DSS: 200 more workers needed to improve caseload

COLUMBIA — A deputy director at the Department of Social Services says the agency needs 200 more employees to reach goals for worker caseloads.

Jessica Hanak-Coulter said Wednesday that 202 employees would be needed to keep caseloads at or below proposed limits for the number of cases and children each worker should handle at one time.

Hanak-Coulter testified before a Senate panel reviewing operations of the agency.

The 25 percent boost in employees would cost $10 million.

Senators on the panel pointed out that DSS has made only one request for new caseworkers in the past four years.

The Senate panel began the review after child welfare advocates said DSS was missing abuse cases that led to children dying. The agency got approval earlier this year to hire 50 more caseworkers.

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