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Schuylkill County Children & Youth Has a Serious Turnover Problem

Will bonus payments help stop the bleeding?

Schuylkill County Children & Youth is hemorrhaging some of its critical employees.

Just this year, a total of 18 Children & Youth case workers or case worker supervisors have quit their job with the agency. based on our exhaustive assessment of County Commissioner meeting notes from 2022.

Another 3 have retired. And 1 case worker transferred to another job within County government.

In total, that’s 22 employees who left Children & Youth in 2022, alone.

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Schuylkill County is having a hard time finding people to replace them, too. Losing these employees is one thing, but if they’re not replaced, it’s a much bigger issue.

To offset the losses, the County Commissioners have approved just 8 new case worker hires. And at least 1 of those hires quit within the same year.

In an attempt to stop the bleeding in this department, back in September, the Commissioners approved a bonus program for employees who don’t quit.

These bonus payments go out quarterly.

For employees who’ve been with Children & Youth less than a year, they’ll get $500 extra every quarter.

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Employees with between 1 and less than 5 years of experience, their quarterly bonuses are $750 each.

Those with less than 10 years of experience with C&Y get $1,125 a quarter extra. And the most tenured employees at Children & Youth – more than 10 years on the job – get $1,500 every quarter.

It’s definitely too soon to know if this bonus program will have an effect on employee retention. But since it was approved, there’s only been 1 resignation among case workers there.

According to a Times-News report, the County says this turnover problem at Children & Youth is relatively new. Last year, a total of 31 employees – including typists and others – left Children & Youth. The agency is on a similar, maybe slightly faster pace this year.

But this problem, the County says in the Times-News report, really only started with the pandemic response. The County says employees are leaving for better pay elsewhere.

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Children & Youth case workers are hired at 2 different levels. Here’s the hourly rate for each position:

  • Case worker 1: $18.33
  • Case worker 2: $19.73

While the County tries to figure out this retention problem, we’re left wondering: Why does a county the size of Schuylkill need so many Children & Youth case workers?

It seems that’s a much bigger problem.

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  1. insider

    October 30, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Check to see how the majority commissioners changed the medical benefits for employees…especially retirement benefits
    As far as numbers of employees needed…check with the head person at C&Y about the number of abused kids in the county…the numbers are staggering…

    • Canary Commenter

      October 31, 2022 at 10:50 am

      We were at the meetings where the retirement plans were changed. Some really bizarre behavior from the Commissioners at that time. Thought we reported on it then but couldn’t find the articles in our archives. Don’t worry; we’re working on more regarding C&Y. Stay tuned.

      And that was part of our point at the end of this article … why does a county with only 140K people have/need SO MANY CYS case workers? It’s sad.

      • insider

        November 2, 2022 at 9:55 am

        Thanks.Having been an”insider”for a number of years,I watched as new,young social workers were overwhelmed with the number of abuse cases(those in the birth to age one were particularly horrifying). Counselling for those in the field was non-existent. I really couldn’t blame those who left,often for lower paying jobs.The stress was not worth a few extra dollars.Then the county pulled the rug out from under their older,experienced workers by altering the retirement benefits. That led them to depart before it went into effect.
        Perhaps asking for the number of abuse cases by age group would give a better picture of the enormity of the problem.
        Keep up the good work. The workers are not the bad guys.

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