YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — There was a time where a government job with 13 paid holidays and a good pension would have drawn a surplus of applicants.
But that time now seems long ago at — like other agencies struggling to fill positions — the York County Office of Children, Youth, and Families (YCF).
“We are absolutely in one of the worst positions we have been in, I believe ever when it comes to vacancies for caseworker positions,” Tanya Stauffer said. She has led the office for two years but has been there almost 18 years.
First, demand for services rose in 2015, when laws protecting children got stricter in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. More recently, competition for workers among employers of all kinds has caused positions to go unfilled — something like 60 positions, in YCF’s case.
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You can find openings at YCF and other York County government departments here.
Stauffer’s pitch to potential caseworkers? Excellent benefits alongside a salary that, beginning at $16.50 an hour for entry-level caseworkers (more like $18 for those with some experience), isn’t the highest for someone with a college degree. But there’s job security, not only because these are union positions but also because “unfortunately, I don’t see this type of work going away,” Stauffer said.
And anyway, she said, it’s not only a job for someone who wants to do this job forever.
“We don’t only work with child welfare, but we also work with our county DNA office,” Stauffer said. “We work with local police departments. We work with our mental health office.”
On the other hand, it’s not all doom and gloom at any agency Stauffer says people might think — incorrectly — spends most of its time removing children from bad situations.
“I think a lot of individuals would be surprised how many families we actually keep intact — safely intact,” she said.
And she said in some ways, it’s the best of two employment worlds: government benefits but a flexible, remote work environment that might sound typical of the private sector.
“Our caseworkers are really only required to come into the office one day a week,” she said. “They can work from their home location. Or from the field. They can work from the local Starbucks.”