LA County child welfare workers have higher caseload than other areas

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An analysis of the caseloads handled by Los Angeles County child welfare workers says they’re far higher than in other counties. KPCC’s Susan Valot says the report also says there’s not much the county can do about it.

L.A. County’s Chief Executive Officer prepared the one-page caseload analysis for the Board of Supervisors. Bill Fujioka says a typical social worker with the Department of Children and Family Services in L.A. County will handle 23 cases at any time. In Riverside County, the typical caseload is 18 children; in Orange County, it’s only 15.

The heavier caseload in L.A. County helps explains how Children and Family Services loses track of some kids. The consequences of that can be deadly; three children under county supervision died in a one-month span this summer.

The analysis estimated what it would take to bring caseloads down to a manageable 15-to-1 ratio. It would take nearly 1,700 new social workers hired at a cost of $180 million. The analysis says hiring that many in the middle of a budget crisis is “not feasible.”