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Social workers alert county to more staffing shortages

EUREKA- The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors chamber was overflowing Tuesday morning with social workers and foster parents for a Social Worker Appreciation Month proclamation. But when accepting the recognition, representatives took the time to alert the county about a similar staffing shortage and crisis at child welfare services.

According to the group, the county has lost 106 social workers since 2006, losing 25 percent of the department's workforce each year. Because of the turnover and increasing case-load, children aren't able to have effective and stable social workers.

In response, the supervisors said they are actively meeting to find recruitment and retainment strategies and plan to dig deeper into the issue.

"It was good to hear the Board of Supervisors is aware of some of the crisis issues at Child Welfare Services, Mental Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services," Foster Parent Dale Maples said. "I sincerely hope that they can back that up with action, with taking a good look at the culture there and why people are leaving. Why are they overworked? Why are they exhausted?"