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N.S. child protection social workers overworked, facing burnout: union – Halifax

The union representing social workers in Nova Scotia says workers are being overworked and facing burnout on the job.

According to the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU), child protection social workers are coping with unmanageable workloads.

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They level to information obtained by the NDP by a freedom of knowledge request that confirmed quick-time period sickness go away amongst provincial social workers has elevated by 60 per cent since 2013.

While Minister of Community Services Kelly Regan says she is listening to considerations raised by the union, she advised reporters on Friday that the staff’ wants are being met.

“We want to make sure our social workers are well supported and we believe they are,” she stated.

“According to North American standards, we’re well within those in terms of case numbers, case complexity. We always take that into account. We want to make sure that a social worker’s educational background, the complexity of the case, the number of cases, geographical issues, anything like that are taken into account.”

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NSGEU president Jason MacLean disputes Regan’s assertion.

“I believe the minister is being irresponsible by talking about our members saying she’s not worried about them,” MacLean stated “They’re crying for help and we’re trying to get their attention, saying there’s more that needs to be done for the workers.”

The union says it despatched a letter to the federal government in May itemizing their considerations and provided strategies on the way to enhance the scenario, together with filling vacancies instantly and making a “float team” to maneuver from location to location to clear up caseload backlogs.

The province responded and agreed with a number of of the strategies, and Regan says the federal government is concentrated on its multi-yr course of for remodeling the division.

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“At any given time, we have about 10 per cent of our social workers off or a vacancy. So we have created a hiring pool to make sure those vacancies are filled quickly and we continue to work with the union and with staff to make sure that social workers have the support they need to do a good job for the children of Nova Scotia,” she stated.

But MacLean says members are nonetheless experiencing burnout and never sufficient is being completed to alleviate that.

“What the minister needs to do is listen to the workers. They’re the ones that are doing the work,” he stated.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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