Nfld. & Labrador

Caseloads targeted in child welfare overhaul

Dozens of social workers in western Newfoundland are being transferred to the department responsible for child welfare, as government moves to shrink caseloads.

Dozens of social workers in western Newfoundland are being transferred to the department now directly responsible for child welfare, as government moves to shrink caseloads.

The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services will become home to 107 social workers now assigned to Western Health.

Minister Charlene Johnson announced the change in Corner Brook, as part of a restructuring that will see similar moves made in other parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"It's probably not fair of me but I sometimes refer to the health authorities as a big beast," Johnson said.

"They're lost with health, so having a sole department dedicated to children and youth - I think that'll go a long way in terms of helping them with the stress."

Johnson say the restructuring will eventually mean one supervisor for every six social workers.

Caseloads in child protection have been criticized for many years as being dangerously high. The current process is intended to reduce loads, which have reached as many as 70 in some parts of the province, to a maximum of 20 cases per social worker.