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Child welfare in the midst of a pandemic, case managers needed

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 17:25:13-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For approximately a year and a half, we've talked a lot about frontline workers from health care to first responders. But there's another group on the front lines: child welfare caseworkers. And they’re protecting abused, abandoned, and neglected children. And depending on where you live there’s a need for more of them.

There’s no typical day for ChildNet dependency case manager Mariah Golson, but one thing’s the same.

“We deal with families that are in crisis,” Golson said.

And she’s got a half-dozen homes to visit in Palm Beach County every workday.

“The cases that we have range — substance misuse cases, domestic violence cases to physical injury cases,” she said.

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ChildNet is the Florida Department of Children & Families lead community-based care agency for Palm Beach and Broward counties with case managers who conduct home visits to observe foster children, their caregivers, and the child’s environment.

”Unfortunately we do have a large number of cases in terms of children who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected — the need is there,” said Nicole Slade, ChildNet program officer of case management. “In order to keep kids safe we need them to have proper caseloads and in order to do that we need to have more staff.”

President and CEO for ChildNet Larry Rein said child welfare locally is dealing with two challenges, the pandemic and the need for more case managers.

”It’s made engaging and keeping your workforce incredibly harder,” Rein said. “There’s a big difference when a case manager has a caseload of 15 children as opposed when they have 30.”

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And that’s the reason for a career fair on Aug. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Palm Beach Marriott located at 1001 Okeechobee Boulevard. ChildNet is conducting interviews for both certified and non-certified case managers. Sign-on bonuses from $3,000 to $5,000 are available. No appointments or RSVP are required. Attendees should bring a copy of their resume and dress in business attire.

”We’re about getting people through difficult situations and being able to see the impact that we’ve had on families — seeing families reunite is always the best,” Slade said.

To learn more about the career fair visit, click here.