CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Governor Jim Justice announced the unveiling of a new DHHR initiative on Tuesday which stands to increase starting salaries of protective service workers including APS, CPS, and Youth Services by 20%.
“Today I announced a 20% pay increase for WV Department of Health and Human Resources’ CPS, APS, and Youth Service workers,” said Governor justice. “These workers face difficult challenges and we need to ensure that they know that we support them in the important work they do to serve the families of WV.”
Additional changes entailed in this development include the establishment of a $50,000 hiring rate for CPS workers in counties including Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan. This change has been implemented so as to ensure these counties can be competitive with surrounding states.
The purchase of tablets for all field staff was included as a benefit in the change as well, and it is said this will be implemented so as to provide access to West Virginia People’s Access to Help (WV PATH), DHHR’s online eligibility system in the field for the assistance of families in the enrollment in and application for services. It has also been resolved that Wifi will be installed as part of all county offices.
Governor Justice and the WV DHHR shared a release detailing the substantial amount of changes to be implemented through this development. The full announcement can be seen below.
Additional LOOTPRESS DHHR coverage can be found here.
“Gov. Jim Justice and Dr. Jeffrey H. Coben, Interim Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), announced a series of actions designed to make continued improvements to Child Protective Services (CPS), Adult Protective Services (APS) and Youth Services (YS).
‘We all know that child welfare has been at the forefront of the issues facing DHHR and we have doubled down on our efforts on recruitment and retention,’ said Gov. Justice. ‘These workers face extremely difficult challenges in their daily work and we need to ensure that they know that we support them in the important work they do to serve the families of West Virginia.’
As part of the enhancements, the starting salary for these classifications has been increased by 20%. Employees previously hired in these categories who fall below the new salary classification will immediately be brought up to the new salary classification.
‘When Governor Justice appointed me as Interim Cabinet Secretary and requested that Dr. Clay Marsh and Retired Major General James Hoyer serve as advisors to DHHR, he emphasized that we must move quickly and boldly to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” said Dr. Coben. “Since that time, we have received input from legislators, judges, faith-based organizations, workers, and many others about the essential need to further develop and maintain a highly skilled and supported workforce. This initiative is designed to do just that and will be a critical first step in our continued efforts to protect and assist West Virginia’s most vulnerable children, youth and adults.’
Additional improvements include:
Modifying the current retention bonus to a 10% increase to the base salary for those employees who experience their second- and fourth-year work anniversaries and a 5% increase to the base salary for those employees who experience their sixth- and eighth-year work anniversaries. This retention plan will apply retroactively to current employees to their benefit.
Establishing a special hiring rate of $50,000 for CPS workers in Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties to be more competitive with the surrounding states.
Increasing Youth Services classification to the same pay grade as CPS workers.
Creating 27 new full-time positions as paraprofessional staff to support field staff with administrative functions (coordinating travel and paperwork) that can take away time for actual casework.
Creating 10 new full-time positions for policy and licensing to support the increase in licensing/policy reviews and investigations at residential treatment providers, both in-state and out-of-state.
Purchasing tablets for field staff to access West Virginia People’s Access to Help (WV PATH), DHHR’s online eligibility system, in the field to help families enroll in and apply for services.
Installing Wifi in all county offices.
In total, the enhancement package is estimated to infuse up to $10 million into the CPS/APS/YS workforce in the first 12 months.
These actions are in addition to earlier improvements:
On December 14, 2022, Gov. Justice authorized a $5,000 hiring bonus for the positions of CPS Worker and Social Service Worker 3 (Youth Services). This requires a one-year employment commitment in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.
Twenty-six counties are eligible for a $2,500 sign-on bonus for the same positions which also requires a one-year employment commitment. The counties are Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Harrison, Kanawha, Lewis, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Wayne, and Webster.
In addition, Gov. Justice also issued an Executive Order on December 14, 2022, which allows individuals who have retired from DHHR to come back on a limited basis while still drawing their full retirement.
As of December 31, 2022, out of the 518 allocated positions for Child Protective Services, there are 160 unfilled positions. Of the 126 allocated Youth Services positions, 45 are unfilled. Of the 116 allocated positions for Adult Protective Services positions, 27 are unfilled.
‘We have struggled for years with growing caseloads and the complex nature of the demands of the CPS, YS and APS systems,’ said Cammie Chapman, Deputy Secretary for Children and Adult Services. ‘I am thankful for Gov. Justice’s focus on meeting the needs of our Department, staff and West Virginians in need of these critical services.’
Individuals who are interested in applying for one of these positions may apply or attend one of the many job fairs occurring throughout the state. For a full list of job fairs visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/Pages/Career-Opportunities.aspx or email DHHRJobs@wv.gov. Individuals currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s social work program may receive tuition assistance. Please contact DHHREAP@wv.gov or by calling 304-558-6700 for more information.
For more detailed information, visit the West Virginia Child Welfare Dashboard.