Wednesday, December 29, 2010
A national social workers’ advocacy group has given a mixed bag of grades to Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. The study by the National Association of Social Workers looked at the education levels of child welfare workers. Overall More than 80% of caseworkers in the state meet the standards set by the Council on Accreditation even though the state has a much lower standard. The council looks for a bachelor degree in human services but Pennsylvania calls for just 12 hours of college level social service credits. Jenna Mehnert is with the executive director of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She says eight counties, including Butler and Lebanon, have received ‘A’ grades because all social workers in those areas have bachelor degrees in human services. Meantime seven counties, including Mifflin, Somerset, and Wayne, got failing grades with about 70% of caseworkers holding human services degrees. “We are a county-based child welfare system, which means each county can set their own standards. Counties like Philadelphia have a standard of a college degree, but other counties don't,” says Mehnert. She is advocating for increased education standards for social workers.