Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) social workers are often one of the first lines of defense against abuse and neglect for children and vulnerable adults. They work in collaboration with law enforcement, the courts, contractors, families and others to ensure the safety and well-being of those who cannot protect themselves. Due to the high demands of the job, Kansas, like other states across the nations, is experiencing a shortage of social workers.
To call attention to this need, today, Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel and DCF staff joined Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D., as he designated March as Social Work Month at the State Capitol Building, Topeka.
“Social workers perform an essential duty for Kansas families, and I am happy to recognize their dedication in a field that is so challenging,” said Governor Jeff Colyer. “Recruiting and retaining social workers is difficult, so I fully support the efforts of DCF to incentivize social workers to consider State service.”
DCF, along with its contracted providers, employ more than 1,000 social workers statewide. DCF has taken the following steps to attract social workers.
• Increased the starting salary for social workers to $40,000, and supervisors to $44,000
• Increased DCF attendance at career fairs, including out-of-state
• Started posting open positions on Handshake, Indeed and DCF’s Facebook page
• Worked with the Kansas Department of Commerce to recruit
• Partnered with a headhunter organization to fill positions
• Started accepting social workers on a part-time basis and as temporary positions. (These part-time social worker positions have increased dramatically since 2010.)
• Increased the number of social work practicum students we take per region.
• Hosted on-site career fairs at our DCF service centers.
“We should recognize and support our social workers, because their work is tough and essential,” said Secretary Meier-Hummel, a social worker. “I have the upmost respect for those who come to work each day with the goal of changing and saving lives.”
DCF Social Worker Ann Goodall, Topeka, discusses the challenges and rewards of her job.
“People don’t really understand the day in, day out duties because our work is so confidential. We protect families from harm, but we also protect their privacy,” Goodall said. “I’ve been a social worker in child welfare for 20 years, it is my passion. Getting to be one-one-one with children, talking with them about their lives, it makes a difference, and it is what I love doing.”
To become a social worker, individuals must graduate from an accredited university with at least a bachelor’s degree in social welfare. They must also pass a licensure exam and maintain the license with 40 hours of continuing education, every two years.
DCF is always looking for people who have a heart for serving vulnerable adults and children in Kansas. To learn more about becoming a social worker, and to view available positions, visit www.jobs.ks.gov
(Governor Jeff Colyer signs a proclamation designating March as Social Work Month. Those in attendance from left to right: Steven Greene II, DCF Legislative and Policy Director; Levi Jenkins, DCF Child Protection Specialist; Ann Goodall, DCF Child Protection Specialist; Governor Colyer, State of Kansas; Rachel Marsh, Saint Francis Community Services (SFCS) Executive Director of Government and Community Relations; DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel; Patricia Long, DCF Director of Prevention and Protection Services.)