DHR asks more support for frontline workers and foster parents

ATLANTA (GA) – Better salaries, training and career prospects for frontline staff who protect children and strengthen families are key provisions of the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) Fiscal Year 2006 budget proposal. The proposal would also increase the per diem reimbursement to families who provide foster care. The proposed $2.00 increase for each of the three payment levels will help defray some of the foster parents’ expense of caring for children’s daily needs.

DHR Commissioner B. J. Walker presented the budget plan to the Board of Human Resources Wednesday. The plan continues in the direction of making children and family support issues one of the agency’s top priorities. Other important items include expanding efforts to recruit and train foster and adoptive parents and funds to improve assessments for children needing out-of-home placement.

“These enhancements would reward those who do some of the hardest work in state government, as well as help them upgrade their skills,” said Walker. “Our goal is to attract and retain a well-trained professional staff. And just as important, we understand that how well we support the people who work directly with children and families, like foster parents, speaks to our commitment,” said Walker.

The budget plan funds new training for child protection workers and for caseworkers who help families become self-supporting. Salary increases would be available to child protection workers who successfully complete certification. New ongoing training for veteran child protection workers would be developed and delivered by the state’s eight schools of social work.

The plan would continue to implement a career path for child protection workers. As workers meet professional goals and demonstrate their skills by serving children, they will move up the ladder. A similar career ladder would soon be offered to family independence eligibility workers, with training provided by the University of Georgia. New trainers will be placed in the regions – closer to staff and to the people they serve.

The budget plan proposes increases of eight percent for child protection staff salaries in targeted counties and four percent for workers in the remaining counties. It provides a five percent salary increase for ongoing child protection workers, and a ten percent raise for over 400 eligibility workers. If adopted, the proposal would put 100 additional child protection staff in the field in areas where they are most needed.

The Board of Human Resources will submit DHR’s budget proposal to Governor Sonny Perdue for consideration as part of his overall state budget recommendation to the 2005 Georgia General Assembly.

For information contact:
Dena J. Smith