48 8 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- DSS director Lillian Koller says her agency is not in meltdown, even as lawmakers say they cannot get straight answers from her.

Koller testified for a second time at a senate oversight subcommittee hearing Wednesday. Much of the discussion centered on employee caseload and retention.

"There's no question that we have workers here who have too many cases. That's not a question in my mind," said Koller.

Still, some senators say they left feeling they are dancing around issues.

"I never feel like our questions are answered. I always feel like we're going around in a circle. You know you get one answer and it doesn't match the numbers we've got here. I'm looking at the paperwork we got last time and then the paperwork we get this time which by the way we just got last night," said Lexington County Sen. Katrina Shealy, a Republican.

To comply with a federal requirement, Koller says they agency has been working since August on a formula to figure out suitable caseloads for workers. That information is due in June.

Koller says DSS will formula that to request additional support from the state next year.

"We have been taking very strong measures and been doing a lot to improve the quality of the work that's occurring throughout this state in child protective services so we need to do better and faster, that's what we're committed to doing," said Koller.

She also says she will begin to receive weekly updates on the amount cases being handled by workers and will get involved if that number passes 30.

"If there's ever been an agency in crisis mode, since my service in the general assembly, it the Department of Social Services, right here, right now," said Richland County Democrat Sen. Joel Lourie.

He questioned why it took DSS so long to make changes, like the Governor Nikki Haley's plan for Richland announced last week.

"I believe that we are losing good qualified people every day, who are just throwing their hands up in frustration saying I can't do it. We get no support from the top. A band-aid in Richland County is not gonna fix the problem,"

Senator Tom Young, the subcommittee's chairman, says the panel will meet again in about two weeks to hear from others.

Young says they will continue to meet even after the legislative session ends.

48 8 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.wltx.com/story/news/2014/05/21/senators-not-satisfied-with-dss-director-testimony/9390185/