OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– A six-month independent review into the Oswego County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services department and Family Services department has been released.

The nearly 60-page document conducted by The Bonadio Group outlines the findings and recommendations for the department after an extensive review of 30 cases and interviews with employees and other community stakeholders.

The biggest finding, the department is very understaffed. No surprise to the caseworkers who have been sharing their frustration for months.

The report says the lack of staffing has led to a number of issues with overdue casework, missed deadlines, caseworkers feeling overwhelmed, and not being able to adhere to guidelines.

Some of the findings included high turnover rates and low compensation, all major factors in cases not being completed in a timely fashion.

The Bonadio group found that 11 Oswego County DSS caseworkers have caseloads higher than 25 and six have caseloads higher than 36. The recommended is 15. This leads to overdue cases.

The report says since March 2022 more than 50 percent of the county’s CPS investigations were not filed on time.

Some of the recommendations from the investigation include increased compensation for caseworkers and senior caseworkers, delegating more responsibility to community service workers, and increasing marketing and hiring strategies.

The report also found low morale and high anxiety among DSS workers when it comes to being safe on the job.

The Oswego County Legislature has already started to address some of these issues. Starting pay for caseworkers is now $49,000. New positions have been approved to help manage high caseloads and they’re also working with the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office to add a deputy to its Child Protective Services unit to address safety concerns.

You can read the Oswego County Legislatures summary and the full report below.

Oswego County Legislature Chairman, James Weatherup, says Oswego County is looking at what they can do to make it a place where people want to work.

“It’s a big ask for the people, they work very hard at it and they care very deeply, um retention is something we are looking very strongly at, it’s hard to do but as you and I’m sure a lot of people have read into this is a problem statewide and an effect nationwide, so it’s not something we are going to be able to fix overnight, but what we are looking at is what can we do to make Oswego county a place where you want to work, live, and play.”