TIME FOR CHANGE: Joan Wallace-Benjamin, CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers, said the Department of Children and Families is understaffed and underfunded.
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About half of the social workers at the state's embattled Department of Children and Families
are new to the department, and most are "overwhelmed" by high caseloads, the head of the nonprofit that cares for many of those children said.
"Need has gone up, populations have grown, the demographics of Massachusetts have changed, but the level of support to kids and families has not," said Joan Wallace-Benjamin, president and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers.
"Now we're in 2015," Wallace-Benjamin
told Herald reporters and editors yesterday, "Too many kids, not enough workers, not the automation and technology that workers need - all the things that we've been hearing about, about why DCF
is in the predicament it's in."
Since 2012, the department also has been gradually transitioning from a server-based system called FamilyNet, which Wallace-Benjamin
described as "antiquated," to a Web-based system called iFamilyNet, which workers have on their iPads, DCF
By March 2016, almost all casework-related functions will be available on iFamilyNet, with the full transition expected to be completed by 2017, the department said.
Department of Children and Families