Nova Scotia lacks accurate caseload count for burdened social workers: Official

By The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia’s Department of Community Services doesn’t have an accurate read of social worker caseloads involving children and families at risk.

Shelley Bent James, an executive director with the department, says social workers manage on average 22.75 cases, but she says that number is inaccurate because it includes older cases for which paperwork hasn’t been completed.

Bent James told the legislature today the department is trying to reduce the administrative burden on social workers and allow them more direct time with children, youth and families.

She says the department is conducting a pilot program that involves the use of support staff who assist social workers with such things as paperwork and record keeping.

As well, Bent James says there are currently about 450 social workers in the province and the department is developing a recruitment and retention plan to boost those numbers.

In a report released last week, Auditor General Kim Adair said the department lacked proper oversight of the province’s youth home and temporary care network. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2024.

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