Colorado Department of Human Services: Colorado Child Welfare County Workload Study

Source: ICF International Inc., LLC, August 2014

Study Conclusion:
The estimated amount of time required to complete mandated child welfare activities and meet program objectives exceeds the amount of time available from the current number of Colorado child welfare caseworkers.

∙ Overall, caseworkers participating in the time study spent about 68 percent of their time on case-related activities.
∙ Of the 11 major services studied, time study participants spent the highest percentage of time (36 percent) on case support, which includes any work activities that are not related to a specific case (e.g., staff meetings and training).
∙ Of the 15 task categories studied, time study participants spent the highest percentage of time (38 percent) on documentation and administration, which includes TRAILS documentation, human resource tasks, and other general office tasks. This time may or may not be related to a specific case.
∙ Applying our workload model and assuming that no changes are made to current county child welfare practices, we concluded:
∙ Estimated workload levels (i.e., amount of time that should be spent on a case per month) would require between 18 and 157 percent more time per month for each service than the actual amount of time child welfare workers spent on each service during the time study.
∙ Based upon the county child welfare workers participating in the time study (from 54 counties), an estimated 574 additional caseworker FTE positions, plus 122 related supervisory positions, are needed to handle the caseloads associated with time study participants.
∙ Improving operational efficiencies in the child welfare process could help provide more staff time and resources to counties for delivering services from current resources. This could reduce the amount of additional resources needed to meet requirements and achieve desired outcomes.
∙ The results of the workload study provide information that the Department can use to respond to community questions and concerns regarding the time and resources it takes to provide services; identify ways to more efficiently operate programs and manage resources; determine if additional county staffing resources are needed; and conduct additional workload studies that build upon the current baseline results. …