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Kentucky Social Workers Warn of a Job Crisis

According to several reports, a group of Kentucky social workers have decided to use social media to vent about an ongoing crisis in the social service department. And recently, a group of legislators have decided to give social workers in the state a significant pay raise, the biggest in nearly a decade.

Mom with daugher on consultation
Mom with daugher on consultation

Raises to Affect Frontline Employees

Members of the Cabinet of Health and Family announced that these changes will mainly affect frontline workers, though all social workers are set to get a raise. That includes those doing social work with seniors and other various social work careers. The new changes will also establish a career ladder that will allow professionals working in social services to seek better wages within their specialization without pursuing administrative positions. The changes are expected to affect over 3,750 family support and social service workers throughout the state of Kentucky.

An Effort to Improve Employee Conditions

According to Cabinet officials, these changes were made to protect and improve conditions for some departments that handle child neglect and abuse, adult protection, and other services for their community. Many social workers in the state have been complaining about an overload of cases lately and a shortage of staff. They also reported a high employee turnover rate and vacancies across the state, with many employees deciding to quit before there is any replacement.

The Situation in Louisville

In Louisville, the situation has been critical for a while and many social workers working in the city have been asking for a reform for years. From January to August 2016, it has been estimated that the state’s cabinet has lost a third of the total social services workforce.

According to the secretary of the cabinet, Vickie Yates Brown Gibson, the costs associated with pay raises will be covered by the $4.8 million dollars governor Matt Bevin recently included as part of the budget to improve the conditions and remuneration of social workers throughout the state. The starting salary for social workers is now at $32,000 and the last significant pay raise was in 2008.

Great News for Louisville

A worker for the cabinet, Loretta Bartonherd, stated that she’s delighted with the news. Bartonherd, who says loves her job and helping the members of the community, says that the pay increases will make a big difference and will boost morale of social workers across the state.

According to the new pay system, entry level employees who start at $32,042 yearly will have their salaries raised to $33,644, which is an increase of around $1,600 a year. Those who work as supervisors, who currently start at $38,770 a year, will get their salaries raised at $40,800, which represents a raise of about $2030 per year.

Senator Burch says that he is delighted to be able to provide help to the social workers in the state. According to data from the cabinet, social workers in the state are working on a much higher number of cases per employee than the national average, and Burch stated that he will do everything in his power to reverse the situation.

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