Letter: Why don’t we value DCFS caseworkers?

(Julio Cortez | The Associated Press) In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo a "Now Hiring" sign is seen with a $11 per hour pay stipulation outside of a McDonald's a restaurant in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the Labor Department reports on job openings and labor turnover for December.

Pay for a Utah Division of Child and Family Service caseworker starts at around $15 an hour. You can work at McDonald’s or drive a bus for equivalent money.

I am not trying to degrade the service a McDonald’s worker or bus driver brings, but the amount of responsibility and/or liability a DCFS worker has, compared to those other two professions, is by no means the same.

You have young adults responding to serious situations, who average six months of experience, who are fresh out of college, making sometimes life-altering decisions for children. You can’t tell me that six months is enough to be fully trained and ready for those kinds of decisions.

So what are we waiting for? What will it take to value a DCFS caseworker? Are we waiting for the child death toll to drastically increase before we begin to pay them? Are we waiting for the 60 percent turnover rate to increase to 100 percent? Or are we waiting for the workers to go on strike?

What is it — what are we waiting for, legislators?

Dennis Sellis, Orem

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