Luzerne County Chil­dren and Youth gets full li­cense re­newal

The Citizens' Voice - - Local - BY ERIC MARK STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: emark@cit­i­zensvoice.com 570-821-2117

Luzerne County Chil­dren and Youth Ser­vices will op­er­ate under a full li­cense this year.

The state Depart­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices last week is­sued a cer­tifi­cate of com­pli­ance to the agency, which pro­vides ser­vices for at-risk chil­dren and ju­ve­niles through­out Luzerne County.

The cer­tifi­cate ex­pires on March 27, 2019. That means Chil­dren and Youth will have a full li­cense for the sec­ond straight year, af­ter op­er­at­ing under pro­vi­sional li­censes from Septem­ber 2015 to April 2017.

The state had down­grad- ed Chil­dren and Youth’s li­cense to pro­vi­sional af­ter state reg­u­la­tors found de­fi­cien­cies dur­ing in­spec­tions of the agency.

The full li­cense com­bined with higher start­ing salaries for some case­work­ers should at­tract qual­ity can­di­dates to fill open po­si­tions and stay on the job longer af­ter they are hired, ac­cord­ing to county Man­ager David Pedri.

The county last month reached col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ments with em­ploy­ees of county hu­man ser­vices depart­ments, in­clud­ing Chil­dren and Youth Ser­vices.

The agency’s agree­ment with the county states that Chil­dren and Youth em­ploy­ees will re­ceive raises of 2 per­cent to 3 per­cent each year from 2018 to 2021.

The agree­ment also in­cludes an in­crease of more than $4,000 in the start­ing salary for ex­pe­ri­enced case­work­ers, known as “case­worker II” po­si­tions, to $36,000. A job list­ing for a case­worker II po­si­tion, posted at the county web­site ear­lier this year, lists a salary of $31,764.

“Luzerne County Chil­dren and Youth is tak­ing the needed steps for­ward to en­sure the safety of our chil­dren and I be­lieve that the state has rec­og­nized the hard work our Chil­dren and Youth staff puts in ev­ery day,” Pedri said, in a state­ment is­sued Mon­day. “A case­worker for Chil­dren and Youth is an ex­tremely de­mand­ing po­si­tion. The county is hope­ful that the bump in start­ing salary will help us re­cruit and re­tain the best and the bright­est.”

MARK MO­RAN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Luzerne County Chil­dren and Youth Ser­vices re­ceived a full li­cense for the sec­ond straight year af­ter op­er­at­ing under pro­vi­sional li­censes from Septem­ber 2015 to April 2017.

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