Caseloads and privacy laws impede social workers
Published Friday, August 26, 2011 5:58PM MDT
While police continue their investigation into the murder of 14-month-old Elizabeth Velasquez, social workers in the province are speaking out about child protection caseloads.
The little girl was abused and murdered last year, despite pleas from her grandparents for social services to step in.
A spokesman for the social workers' union says child protection workers are juggling too many cases at a time.
In 2010/2011, a monthly average of 12,300 children required intervention under the Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act, down slightly from 2009/2010 and down substantially down from the year before that.
On average, each social worker is still responsible for between 15 and 26 cases at any one time.
Each case can involve a number of children who may also need protection.
Social worker Sandra Azocar says in recent years, child protection has become more complex . Workers are called on more often to appear at court cases and the seriousness of cases has increased
And like the report into the murder of Elizabeth Velasquez, Azocar believes child protection agencies have to make communication a priority.
But she says privacy laws are getting in the way when are trying to share information.
Azocar says social workers want the government to move quickly on all the recommendations that came from the panel that investigated the death of Velasquez.