TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- Tampa Bay is seeing significant turnover in its child welfare investigators and staff, according to a new report from the Florida Department of Children and Families Office of Child Welfare.
Throughout the last few years, there have been multiple reports of children who may have fallen through the cracks of an underfunded system, filled with overworked employees.
The report, released early this month shows that the Suncoast Region— consisting of Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties — had the highest staff turnover rate for the last two years.
Nearly 61 percent of the regions staff, 89 of its 146 investigators and supervisors, left DCF between 2017 and 2018. The number has decreased between 2018 and 2019, but not by much.
Employee turnover rate in the Suncoast region
The Suncoast Region of DCF consists of Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. Hover over the ring to see the number.
2018-2019Source: Florida Department of Children and Families
Nearly 52 percent of the Suncoast region’s staff left their positions over the course of the last year.
“It was consistently reported that the job can be overwhelming despite the positive efforts of supervisors to motivate staff,” the report said.
The report also details the working conditions and pay for various investigators and supervisors.
There are three salary levels for child protective investigators based on skills and competencies. The class titles and annual base salaries for each of the classes are:
- Child Protective Investigator: Original Appointment – $35,640, First Competency Based Increase – $37,620, Second Competency Based Increase – $39,600
- Senior Child Protective Investigator – $41,500
- Child Protective Investigator – Field Support Supervisor – $46,900
- Child Protective Investigator Supervisor– SES – $49,200
- Critical Child Safety Practice Expert- $55,000
Of the 1,663 child protective investigative staff listed in the report, 224 held a degree in social work— 186 baccalaureates and only 38 masters degrees. That’s a 7 percent decrease from the previous year’s number of 240.
Child protective investigations in the Suncoast region
Hover over the bars to see the number.
Source: Florida Department of Children and Families
The total active child protective investigative staff currently holding a degree in social work is 13 percent.
The number of child protection staff having a baccalaureate degree in social work decreased by seven percent over the past year.
There was also a 7 percent decrease in child protection staff having a master’s degree in social work.
While the report didn’t outline specific solutions to what is an ongoing problem, the department did say that “the development of new initiatives to support child protective investigative staff in their work will remain one of the department’s top priorities.”
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