County Social Services Caseworker Increase Goes To Legislature Today

The Oswego County Legislature today takes up a plan to increase the number of county social services caseworkers.

The increase was recommended by the authors of a study from Cornell University of the county’s Social Services department in the wake of the death of 11 year old Erin Maxwell of Palermo.  Social services caseworkers responding to complaints found Maxwell living in a house that reeked of animal waste but did not remove her from the home.  Caseworkers were told that Maxwell often came to school dirty.  Social services had not had a complaint over Maxwell in the last two years of her life.

The report found that caseworkers were handling too many cases.  A legislature committee approved hiring 36 people for new positions within Social Services to deal with the overload of cases.

Members of the minority raised questions about the cost.  The cost of the new hires will be paid for the rest of this year by a $500,000 grant from the state. Local taxes would begin to pay for the new positions next year, giving time for county officials to adjust the overall budget.

Today’s meeting is at 2:00 p.m. in the county Legislature Chambers in Oswego.