The most critical jobs in Hamilton County have 40 percent vacancy rates – like child welfare caseworkers – WCPO 9 Cincinnati

by | Dec 9, 2022 | Jobs

CINCINNATI — In a tight job market, the most critical positions in Hamilton County are the ones most likely to be empty.The county needs 911 dispatchers, jail and youth detention officers, probation officers and child abuse caseworkers. These jobs often involve high stress, long and irregular hours, and a quick burnout rate, but are also crucial to community safety. So officials are boosting perks and pay.One of the highest vacancy rates is in the children’s services division of Job & Family Services, where abuse and neglect calls are assessed and the fate of children who have been placed in protective custody is managed.“This has been a very unique, unprecedented time for us. When we get to a point where we’re seeing 40 percent vacancy rates, we want to make sure that we’re doing whatever we can to address that,” said JFS director Michael Patton, who is looking to fill more than 100 job openings in child welfare.

Hamilton County Job & Family Services Director Michael Patton

County officials are doling out large bonuses, paying for downtown parking, and adding to what is already a generous benefits package of paid parental leave and tuition reimbursement, to stop the staffing hemorrhage.“We know a strong team of public servants is critical to a strong community,” said county administrator Jeff Aluotto. “Specifically, we are offering signing and retention bonuses in Children’s Services through a state grant, casting a wider net on job postings and exploring supplementing our workforce with part-time workers in critical areas.”To make matters worse, caseworkers are seeing more severe abuse and neglect cases now than before the pandemic began.“It’s really, really critical work so when we have these kinds of vacancies, it puts a strain on the system,” Patton said. “Anytime when you have fewer people to do the work, it has an impact.”

Hamilton County children’s services has a 40 percent vacancy rate

JFS workers from other divisions are filling in to perform clinical work, to free up caseworkers to assess homes for abuse and neglect, and visit children who are in their custody.The situation isn’t much better at the …

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