Health and Family Services Cabinet
Cabinet seeks staff input on restructuring of social services agency; Employee workgroups in every region to comment
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 24, 2006) –The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is seeking staff input on a plan that would reorganize its human services agency to reduce caseloads and equalize resources.
The plan to restructure the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) was announced to staff last week. Now, they have the chance to voice their concerns and influence the process.
“Our staff has the knowledge to help us build this plan,” said DCBS Commissioner Tom Emberton Jr. “We are eager and interested to solicit input from throughout the state.”
The plan calls for more front-line staff, supervisors and clinical support in the family support and protection and permanency offices. It also would consolidate the department’s 16 regions.
Emberton said the goal of the reorganization remains the same, but administrators are ready to modify the plan with comments from the field.
“We know we have to strengthen the front lines of both family support and protection and permanency, but we are flexible about the details of how it’s done,” he said. “Caseloads for both areas have become unmanageable, and there are great inequities from region–to-region in terms of casework and resources.”
In each region, Emberton has formed at least one workgroup made up of staff and supervisors to make recommendations on the plan. Gathering that input will take a few weeks, then commission staff will discuss the suggestions with the regional administrators before taking a revised plan back to all staff.
Central office staff has traveled to several regions this week to listen to ideas from the field, Emberton said.
“We value our staff,” Emberton said. “Those who are working directly with our clients know best what they need in terms of support and organization. We are using their suggestions to refine our plans.”
Emberton said while there will be more direct supervisors in each county, he also wants to ensure that regional management is accessible.
“We’re not going on the assumption that if a regional administrator is in the central county, all the regional associates will be housed there too,” he said. “We may have three or four associates in counties across the region.”
An internal DCBS Web site gives staff another venue for submitting comments or asking questions about the reorganization.
Emberton said the proposal should be finalized by June 16, as planned.
“We are working within that timeframe, but we can be accommodating to new concepts. We won’t rush the process.”
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