DSS needs caseworkers and people to train them

HUDSON–Caseworkers and transportation received attention at the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Health and Human Services Committee meeting Tuesday, January 17. This was the Committee’s first meeting after the committees underwent reorganization with the New Year. The Health and Human Services Committee, according to the County website, now concerns itself with Public Health, Human Services, the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Youth Bureau, and the Office for the Aging.

Michelle Ublacker, deputy commissioner of social services, reported that the DSS had reduced the time between when it gets and when it processes cases.

She also said that one DSS goal for 2017 will be aggressive staff training to increase caseworker retention. “We have a high turnover rate,” she acknowledged. But Miss Ublacker added, “We don’t want to pull case workers away” from helping clients to become trainers.

Kevin McDonald, administrator of the county Office for the Aging, mentioned plans “to see if we can get regular bus/van routes established in the county, especially to places that don’t have it.” The Office for the Aging recently received a grant for a new van, and it has used the van to take clients from various parts of the county to organized meals, Mr. McDonald said. It helps them get out of their homes more.

But “how do people find out about the van?” asked Supervisor William Hughes (D-Hudson, 4th Ward).

“Word of mouth,” answered Mr. McDonald.

In addition, Mr. McDonald said, “We want to see if we can work closer with Johnson and Pulcher,” which runs the county’s public buses. These buses, which are open to everybody, not just senior citizens, make daily loops between Hudson and the Fairview Avenue shopping centers, weekday bus runs from Hudson to Albany (some of which stop in Kinderhook and Valatie), and once-a-week only runs between various county communities and Hudson.

The next meeting of the County Health and Human Services Committee will take place Tuesday, February 14, at 4 p.m. at 401 State Street in Hudson.

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