Goals can be good things to strive for but when they are completely unrealistic they are meaningless and in fact can do real harm. Such is the plan being put forth by legislators for the Division of Children, Youth, and Families.
It calls for the funding of 77 more DCYF positions, including 57 new caseworkers and 20 new supervisors. That’s a huge jump from the current budgeted caseworker number.
But here’s the problem, or at least one of them. Not all of the current positions are filled. DCYF was given 33 new positions in the last budget. It can’t fill them all. Legislators may not have heard, but there is a labor shortage, in New Hampshire and across the nation.
What is the point of creating more and more positions when there is simply no way they will be filled?
One sentence from Tuesday’s Union Leader story on the matter explains it. “Democrats have seized on the issue in an attempt to portray Sununu as unresponsive to a child protection crisis.”
That would be Gov. Chris Sununu, whose own budget authorizes 62 new positions but funds 26 (in the hopes that somehow qualified individuals can be found for those 26, plus the ones already unfilled).
It is Sununu who is being responsive, and responsible, on the child protection issue that, like many things, has been exacerbated by the opioid crisis. Legislators should back off their unrealistic numbers and work with the governor on this one.