OAK HILL - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources employees picket the agency's Fayette County office to raise awareness.
The West Virginia Public Workers Union says employees are carrying the large, unmanageable caseloads because of under staffing. They say the employees at the area office have caseloads that are two or three times larger than the recommended standard. Case workers tell NewsWatch the large caseloads mean client services are not being delivered in a timely manner, and children and the elderly are being put at risk. The union says recommendations developed last year to reduce caseloads by up to half have not yet been implemented by the agency.
"And just over the past month, folks have been denied annual leave to take vacations, they've been forced to work on holidays, in violation of DHHR own policy, because of these large caseloads," said John Thompson, UE Local 170, WV Workers Union.
"We like our jobs, we like helping people, but it would be a lot better if we had more people to do our jobs," said Susan Lanier.
When asked for comment we received the following statement, "Caseload standard studies have been conducted over the past year and the information is currently being analyzed by DHHR to determine whether caseloads at the Bureau for Children and Families are appropriate. Should that analysis indicate the need for improvements, the bureau will develop a plan to address that," said Harold Clifton, Deputy Secretary for Human Services.