Nova Scotia lacks accurate caseload count for overburdened social workers: Official – Halifax |

Nova Scotia’s Department of Community Services does not have an accurate count of social worker caseloads involving at-risk children and families.

Shelley Bent James, executive director of the department, says social workers handle an average of 22.75 cases, but she says that number is inaccurate because it includes older cases for which paperwork has not been completed.

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Bent James told the legislature today that the department is trying to reduce the administrative burden on social workers and give them more direct time with children, youth and families.

She says the department is running a pilot program that involves the use of support staff who assist social workers with things like paperwork and record keeping.

As well, Bent James says there are currently about 450 social workers in the province and the department is developing a recruitment and retention plan to increase those numbers.

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In a report released last week, Auditor General Kim Adair said the department lacked proper oversight of the province’s youth home and transitional care network.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2024.

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