- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2016

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - Larimer County is trying to find caseworkers for the Department of Human Services who deal with child neglect and abuse amid concerns that a shortage of workers will hurt clients because of heavier workloads.

The department has lost about 20 of more than 100 employees, many citing low pay, Director Laura Walker said.

Some caseworkers are in charge of up to 30 children, compared with the caseload of a dozen children recommended by professionals.

The county has approved a one-time bonus totaling $550,000 to be distributed among 115 employees in an effort to convince them to stay.

The high turnover rate is hurting the county’s reputation, Walker said. “You just think about the level of distrust that families and kids have in our system to begin with and the reticence to be involved …,” she said.

New federal rules have raised minimum salaries for employees exempt from overtime, which must take effect by Dec. 31.

The one-time bonus is temporary while the Department of Human Services and human resources staff members find out what other communities pay, Walker said.

The county also wants other proposals for raises and how to pay for them at Larimer County, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported (https://tinyurl.com/hwl6v4k ).

“We need a little bit of time to keep looking at this and really dive in, look at recruitment, look at our candidates,” Walker said.

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Information from: Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald, https://www.reporterherald.com/


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