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Maine might limit workload for family service caseworkers

February 28, 2022 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers are considering a proposal to limit the workload of child and family services caseworkers to try to prevent burnout.

Democratic Rep. Colleen Madigan of Waterville proposed the change, which she said is designed to help caseworkers within the Office of Child and Family Services and children they serve. The bill would require Maine to make sure caseworkers aren’t working more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight consecutive days.

The state would also be required to maintain a driving log while caseworkers are working.

Last year was the worst year on record for child deaths in Maine, and supporters said the bill’s a response. They said 25 children died in incidents associated with abuse or neglect or following prior family involvement with the child welfare system.

The proposal was subjected to a public hearing Feb. 22. Todd Landry, director of the Office of Child and Family Services, testified against it. He said limiting hours could hurt the agency because it “could jeopardize our ability to fulfill its statutory charge and create additional work for child welfare staff that will take away from the time they can devote to children and families.”

The proposal will face committee votes.