The Madison County Department of Family and Children Services continues to tend to a larger caseload amid bleak funding news at the state level.
Amended budgets presented by Gov. Sonny Perdue for 2009 and 2010 leave the state DFCS office with a $6 million shortfall.
Madison County DFCS director Lisa Plank said that amounts to a $12 million deficit when factoring in lost federal funds.
“For right now, there has been no official word regarding how the state is going to make up that amount,” Plank said.
The state department is already mandating furlough days for employees under certain pay grades, while also continuing a “hard hiring freeze.” The Madison County DFCS office already has one vacancy left unfilled.
Meanwhile, a short-staffed Madison County DFCS office contends with larger stacks of paperwork as more county citizens seek aid during the economic downturn.
For example, Madison County DFCS workers continue to handle an influx of family Medicaid applications as the jobless rate increases.
Plank said the Madison and Oglethorpe County offices — both of which are directed by Plank — have combined forces in some areas to ensure that things run smoothly.
“The two counties are really kind of blending together to get the work done,” she said.
Considering the strain on staff and resources, the DFCS office is handling the workload admirably, according to Plank.
“We’ve been short-staffed … but we’re still getting the work done and still getting the work done well,” Plank said. “It could be worse for us.”
DFCS chairman Gary Locke commended the staff for its efforts.
“That says volumes about you and your people,” Locke said.
Of course, the speculation is still out there concerning the state’s recourse for the funding deficit.
“I don’t want to say what we’ve heard as far as rumors go until we know for sure that something is going to happen,” Plank said.