The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) strike has been on my mind. Prior to leaving this April after nearly 12 years of service, I thought I would retire from DCFS. Even though I am no longer employed by DCFS and no longer in Los Angeles, I still feel connected to the social workers that do this work.
The strike started on December 5 when contract negotiations stalled. An unresolved issue is that of the Children’s Social Worker caseload for children and families who have abuse or neglect issues. High caseloads have been a long-standing issue even before this round of negotiations. One child is counted as one case. A child’s case goes through several service phases – from investigation to adjudication to offering services to maintain a child safely at home, or to reunify a the child with his parents once a family interfaces with DCFS. I was a Supervising Children’s Social Worker for the later phase, called Continuing Services.