Luzerne County Children and Youth gets full license renewal
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.”
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.