AFSMCE Demands Funding and Immediate Action for Dangerously Understaffed Department of Human Services

Embargoed until 10am on February 2, 2022

AFSMCE Demands Funding and Immediate Action for Dangerously Understaffed Department of Human Services

ANNAPOLIS- Ahead of today’s annual budget hearing for the Department of Human Services, AFSCME members are speaking out about rampant understaffing and under-resourcing in the agency. DHS workers oversee adult and child welfare, provide benefits and assistance to families struggling economically, and many more services. DHS is our social safety net, and our members put the “human” in human services. As of January 2022, DHS has 882 vacant positions for a vacancy rate of 14.7% - the highest vacancy rate of any public safety, health, and human services state agency.

DHS has been intentionally and chronically underfunded throughout the years, and there are no efforts to reverse these trends in the FY23 budget Gov. Hogan released. In fact, the only solutions the DHS administration has offered cause more harm than good. They are pulling workers from counties where they’re needed to help in other jurisdictions.  Additionally, they are aiming to downgrade the qualifications for positions to bring in cheaper, less experienced workers. Between 2021-2022, DHS lost over 300 filled positions due to hiring freezes, uncompetitive wages, and a lack of effort to retrain and recruit workers. We call on the Hogan Administration and the General Assembly to focus some of our record surpluses this year on rebuilding the workforce within DHS with highly trained, educated, and experienced staff.

AFSCME Local 112 Member Monique Boyd said, “I have never seen more complex cases. Our caseloads right now are triple the CWLA standards with most of my co-workers carrying 24-28 cases. With this many cases, we are doing the bare minimum for children who need more help now than ever.”

AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran said, “With an almost $4 billion dollar surplus, it’s shameful that Governor Hogan is turning his back on the vulnerable children of Baltimore by not funding our agencies. We urge the Governor to increase funding for DHS and to act swiftly to fill vacancies and expedite hiring.”

Who: AFSCME Maryland Council 3 President Patrick Moran, Delegate Kirill Reznik, AFSCME Local 112 Vice President Cherrish Vick (Prince Georges County), and members of AFSCME Local 112 Monique Boyd (Baltimore City) and April Tindall (St. Mary’s County)

When: Wednesday, February 2nd at 11 am

Where: Virtual Press Conference

Topic: Wednesday 2/2 Press Conference

Time: Feb 2, 2022, 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)