TPEA Press Release on CPS Backlog and Employee Turnover
March 11, 2020
26% turnover among CPS specialists is unacceptable and a disservice to Texas children
AUSTIN, TEXAS—Proposals to add positions at Child Protective Services don’t address the root cause of extreme case backlogs: excessive employee turnover. The Texas Public Employees Association urges the Senate Finance Committee to focus on the 26 percent turnover rate among CPS specialists when it meets Wednesday on CPS issues.
“The inability of CPS to reach children in crisis is a glaring, heartbreaking example of inadequate funding of state employee salaries,” said Gary W. Anderson, TPEA executive director. “CPS workers are already in an extremely stressful, high-burnout role. This type of work calls for a salary that’s high enough to retain these front-line workers.”
The agency had an overall 19 percent turnover rate in Fiscal Year 2015, per a September 2016 State Auditor’s report. Despite having a glut of hundreds of unfilled CPS positions, agency leaders have not requested salary increases but have called for adding positions to address case backlogs, according to The Dallas Morning News.
And while it costs $54,000 to train each new CPS worker, average CPS specialist salaries range from $35,000 to $46,000.
“Aside from the moral imperative to protect our children, it is bad business for the State to invest so much in training only to underfund salaries and watch that investment walk out the door,” said Anderson. “It’s not complicated to see what needs to be done, and some state legislators are taking note.”
The Dallas Morning News recently reported that Rep. Four Price, the chief budget writer for social services in the House, is aware that “low pay was CPS employees’ biggest beef in the department’s latest ‘employee engagement’ survey” and has said pay raises should be considered.
“State employees have been asked to do ‘more with less’ for years, but it gets to a point where you’re doing ‘less with less,’” Anderson said. “We’re at the point, and our most vulnerable populations are the ones suffering.”
Find a TPEA analysis of September 2016 State Auditor’s Office report on state government turnover and employee salaries at www.tpea.org/SAOTurnover2016.
About the Texas Public Employees Association
Founded in 1946, the Texas Public Employees Association is the oldest and largest legislative advocacy organization for Texas state employees. The nonunion, nonpartisan membership association has 15,000 active and retired state employee members across the state.
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