CHARLESTON — Bill J. Crouch, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), reiterated his commitment to making salary increases a reality for direct services employees of DHHR’s Bureau for Social Services.
“Every day, Child and Adult Protective Services workers are on the front line protecting West Virginia’s most vulnerable residents,” said Crouch. “These workers showcase some of the most important responsibilities DHHR has and are also two of the most challenging and difficult jobs in state government.”
The past salary increases that DHHR put in place for CPS workers, as well as the addition of 184 child welfare positions added to the CPS workforce, are part of important improvements to retain this critical workforce.
“Often, raises for direct services workers focus on children, and rightfully so,” said Crouch. “However, House Bill 4344 also acknowledges the critical importance of our Adult Protective Services workers. West Virginia needs a strong workforce to protect and address the needs of vulnerable West Virginians at every age.”
According to Crouch, DHHR is working with Senator Eric Tarr, Chairman of the Senate Finance committee, and members of the committee regarding several alternatives for funding that would not increase the existing state budget. They are exploring possible plans to use existing vacancies to fund these salary increases for existing direct services employees. “We want to make sure we have enough staff to assure manageable caseloads,” Crouch said, “but if we can make this work, we will monitor the recruitment and retention of these positions going forward, and add additional positions later as needed.”
Crouch believes the additional salary increases included in this bill are another step in recruiting and retaining these crucial workers in West Virginia. “Salary increases are not the only issue that needs to be addressed,” Crouch added. “We need a better support system for these workers to assist them in doing their jobs to keep our vulnerable residents safe and protected.”