KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Andy Beshear discussed plans for social worker retention on December 8.

The current issue is high turnover and a backlog of cases that the current social workers cannot get to due to shorthandedness. The state needs 300 additional social workers to lighten the case load.

There will be a 10% raise for social workers and family support staff come December 16, which bumps the wages up one classification grade. The 10% pay increase will be provided to more than 3,900 employees in the following roles: Social services aide I and II; social services worker I and II; social services clinician I and II; social services specialist; public assistance program specialist; field services supervisor; family services office supervisor; case management specialist I, II and III; family support specialist I, II and III; service region administrator; service region administrator associate and service region clinical associate. Employees can expect to see the pay increase on their Jan. 15 paystub.

As part of a pilot program, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is also working to hire entry-level social workers and family support specialists within seven business days of applying.

In his upcoming budget proposal, the Governor will propose a loan forgiveness program for the state’s social workers. If it passes, then the loan forgiveness program will be for people who currently are and will become social workers. For every year someone works as a social worker or family support staff, the state will pay off a certain percentage of the individual’s loans.

Social workers play a huge role in breaking cycles of neglect and abuse. They say that there are far too many Kentuckians, young and old, who struggle to succeed, with hunger, domestic violence, substance abuse, physical and mental illness and countless other issues.