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Thu December 17, 2009
DHS workers plan demonstration, ask state for relief
By Kevin Lavery, WKAR News
Lansing, MI – Michigan human services employees are planning a protest in suburban Detroit Friday. They're calling on state lawmakers to supply more temporary workers to ease their burgeoning caseloads.
Ray Holman is the legislative liaison for the United Auto Workers Local 6000, and a 17-year employee with the Department of Human Services. He says the average caseworker is handling between 600 and one thousand cases apiece, as more first-time customers seek food and cash assistance. Holman adds the state's caseload management software is actually slowing down their processing time.
"What used to take a caseworker 50 minutes to complete now may take three hours or four hours to complete," Holman explains. "And so what happens is it's creating a bottleneck. People aren't getting served and cases are backing up."
The state has already provided 200 temporary workers, but the UAW says it needs at least 500 more. The state is considering other options, including a crisis call center that may re-route the flow of incoming calls.