"Child welfare workers investigating abuse and neglect are supposed to carry a maximum caseload of about 15.
But in the Kansas City area, workers for the Kansas Department for Children and Families recently carried an average of 55 cases. Statewide, the number was 38.
“It’s disturbing and shocking to see these numbers and all the other numbers coming out recently,” said Benet Magnuson, executive director of Kansas Appleseed, a nonprofit justice center serving vulnerable and excluded Kansans. 'It’s also pretty disturbing to think that the system wouldn’t be aware of these problems that have been going on many years. ... I would say that some people have been sounding the alarm.'
Overwhelming caseloads can be too much for workers, said Lori Burns-Bucklew, a Kansas City attorney and accredited child welfare law specialist.
'That’s an area of work where people are prone to secondary trauma and burnout,' Burns-Bucklew said. 'No wonder it is hard to keep workers if they have that high of caseload.'"