P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2016
AUSTIN – Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, announced today that the Legislative Budget Board has approved $142 million in emergency funds to address the ongoing crisis at Child Protective Services (CPS).
"Our caseworkers are performing tough jobs and face heart-breaking situations on a daily basis. They deserve these raises, which are needed to reduce an alarming turnover rate that is putting children at risk. We cannot resolve the problems at this agency unless we address caseworker retention, which is the primary focus of this emergency plan,” Senator Nelson, a member of the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said.
Specifically, the plan provides across-the-board pay raises of $1000/month for CPS caseworkers effective December 1, 2016. It also approves the addition of 828.8 employees to CPS’ workforce but with strict oversight measures to ensure that the agency is improving retention and meeting benchmarks to protect endangered children. The agency must submit to LBB in twice-monthly reports on:
- The number of persons hired into the positions described in the request, by position type;
- The number of persons provided the requested increase in employee compensation;
- The effect on caseloads per worker;
- The effect on the number of investigations pending more than 60 days;
- The effect on employee turnover, including retention rates by stage of service and job description;
- The total salaries, and other operating expenses, for persons hired into the positions described by the request; and
- The number of caseworkers and associated supervisors in training, by position type and stage of training.
The agency must also conduct exit surveys of staff leaving the agency beginning on January 1, 2017 to determine the reason for leaving and what impact salary increases had on their job satisfaction. Should the LBB determine that the agency has failed to meet the reporting or performance requirements, funding for additional full-time positions not yet filled will be terminated.
Additionally, the LBB maintains the ability to terminate the appropriation authority granted in this request for hiring additional full-time employees if the agency does not demonstrate significant improvement in employee retention.