Maine could limit the workload of family services social workers

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine lawmakers are considering a proposal to limit the workload of child and family services social workers in an attempt to prevent burnout.

Democratic Representative Colleen Madigan of Waterville proposed the change, which she says is designed to help social workers at the Office of Child and Family Services and the children they serve. The bill would require Maine to ensure social workers work no more than 60 hours on seven consecutive days or 70 hours on eight consecutive days.

The state would also be required to keep a driving log while social workers are working.

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

The proposal was submitted to a public hearing on February 22. Todd Landry, director of the Office of Child and Family Services, testified against. He said limiting hours could harm the agency as it “could compromise our ability to fulfill its legal burden and create additional work for child protection staff that will reduce the time they can devote to children and families”.

The proposal will be voted on in committee.

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