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Attorney: Departure Of Riverside Social Services Director Indicative Of Problems Within Department

A lawyer who has sued Riverside and San Bernardino Counties on behalf of social workers says the departure of a top official in Riverside County’s Department of Public Social Services is indicative of much larger problems within the department. 

Earlier this month, Department of Public Social Services director Sarah Mack left her post, marking the second leadership change at the department since September 2018. 

The agency’s child protective services unit has been involved in a number of high-profile abuse cases over the past few years, including the case of Noah McIntosh, an 8-year-old boy who was allegedly murdered by his father.

Megan Richmond is an attorney who has sued both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties on behalf of social workers.

She says that in Riverside County, social workers’ large case load makes them unable to perform their jobs adequately.

Richmond: “Can you imagine being a social worker for example, you want to go out and help save kids who are being abused and you just don't have time because of your overwhelming case load.”

Richmond says Sarah Mack’s departure is just the latest example of the department’s problems in caring for at-risk youth.  

Gene Kennedy is the public information officer for Riverside County’s Department of Social Services. He says the county is working on resolving the case load issue.

Kennedy: “We value our social workers. They have tough jobs and a high caseload. We're working to ease that by hiring more staff, we're also working on ways we can retain our social workers. The department has a total of 830 social workers, our children's division added nearly 180 social workers last June. The Board of Supervisors recently increased our budget, and that will allow us to hire almost 300 additional social workers department wide. Our top priority is keeping children safe.”