Columbia, SC (WLTX) - For the first time, the South Carolina Department of Social Services is releasing its caseload standard that it's submitted to the federal government for approval.
The information came during testimony Wednesday by DSS officials before a Senate subcommittee looking into the state agency.
As part of the proposed standards, DSS is recommending that a caseworker should have no more than 24 children at any time, and that supervisors should only have six caseworkers to oversee.
News19 began looking into the agency's caseload standards earlier this month. Former DSS State Director Lillian Koller, and the agency's 2013 Annual Progress and Services Report, said the caseload methodology would be handed over to the feds by June. Previous Coverage:No Public Release of Caseload Standards
However, when News19 asked to learn the ratio, that information was not made available at the time. A data snapshot of average caseloads taken on May 19th showed the average number of cases for a DSS worker in Lexington County was 24. Some workers, however, had more than 40.
During testimony Wednesday, DSS officials admitted that caseloads were too high in Lexington, York, and Charleston Counties.
To meet their standards, the officials told senators they could need 202 new workers: 109 of them frontline caseworkers, with the other 93 in supervisory roles.
DSS has come under fire for months over how it handled cases, including some where children died. In June, Koller resigned, saying her continued role with the agency was serving as a distraction to making improvements. Previous Coverage:Lillian Koller Resigns