TexProtects statement on CPS hiring plan: Salaries must be competitive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2016
Contact: Lee Nichols
512-796-9877 or [email protected]
Dallas, Texas — Yesterday, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), in response to the concerns of the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House, requested permission to hire 550 new front-line caseworkers. This request is an attempt by DFPS to reduce the number of high-priority children who have not been seen by Child Protective Services within statutory time requirements.
Today, Madeline McClure – CEO of TexProtects, the Texas Association for the Protection of Children – issued the following response to this news:
“We are grateful to the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House for recognizing the urgency of Texas’ Child Protective Services’ situation and the need for children at the highest risk for maltreatment to be seen immediately. They were right to demand prompt action from DFPS Commissioner Whitman on this situation, and the Commissioner rightly requested a larger Child Protective Services workforce.
“However, the Commissioner’s plan as reported is missing a key component: Competitive salaries at a level that will actually fill the positions and keep them filled with qualified caseworkers. Remember, we already have about 400 vacancies in high-need areas. We may hire 550 additional workers, but who will we retain who can handle the pressure and rigor of this job at a $34,000 entry-level salary? Turnover at CPS is almost double that of other state agencies, in part because the people who could do this work follow the free market toward better pay.
“We also must view this plan as, at best, a temporary short-term fix where a long-term solution is needed. The next Legislature needs to greatly expand prevention and early intervention services. The best way to fix CPS is to reduce the number of kids who need CPS, and evidence-based family support programs are the only proven means to do this. Until that happens, DFPS will keep lurching from one expensive crisis to next.”
TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, was created to tackle issues of Child Protective Services (CPS) reform, prevention and public awareness to bring a collective, organized voice representing the needs of children at risk of abuse and survivors of child abuse and neglect. The organization is autonomous, nonpartisan and nonpolitical, designed to educate decision makers, private funders and the public at large. To date, it is the only Texas organization that has a dedicated focus on the main issues of protection, prevention, and healing of abused and neglected children. For more information, please visit www.TexProtects.org.