High turnover at Brown County CPS

Posted: 6:54 PM, Aug 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-25 19:54:32-04

Brown County Child Protective Services leaders said it takes on the second highest amount of investigations in the state but has seen a 39 percent turnover in employees this year.

This problem has lead to workers having to take on more cases and they say the cases are becoming more complex.

Erik Pritzl is the Executive Director at Brown County Health and Human Services. He said for a long time, this would be a person's first and last job or they would spend many years working for the department.

He said in the past year that has changed as they've seen many more complex cases involving emotional damage and sexual abuse.

He said this has really increased workloads and contributes to the turnover.

Workers said people go through the training process, are exposed to the workload, and end up leaving Brown County for a private agency or a different county.

When employees leave, they said, their work is given to other employees which increases their caseloads and adds to the stress of the job.

Amy Knutson is a supervisor for CPS. She said their number one priority is to make sure kids are safe, but this causes employees to work well into the night to make sure everything is getting done.

She said when someone is given another case, it can slow down the process of helping the kids.

"A lot of times, kids will be either in care for about six months longer than had they kept the same worker because things change. They need to be assessed, get familiar with the family. It's really hard for a worker to take someone else's cases then make decisions," said Knutson.

Leaders say pay could also play a role in the high turnover.

They said it's a competitive market, and they've discussed researching other counties' pay to see if Brown County needs to make changes.

They said they're also looking at what's funded by the department and considering saving money by no longer providing some non-mandated services.

Pritzl said non-mandated services could include partner agencies, shelters, or support groups.

He said this decision could be difficult because every service cut could potentially impact a child or family in need.