Child Protection Social Workers burning out on McNeil’s watch

The McNeil government is putting the safety of children and families at risk by leaving Child Protection Social Workers over-worked and under-resourced says NSGEU President Jason MacLean.

“Child Protection Social Workers are responsible for assessing and protecting the safety and well being of kids in need. They need a manageable workload so they have the time and resources to make the right decision for vulnerable children and families,” says MacLean. “Management has a responsibility to act. The situation has been urgent for a long time and data released by the NDP shows the extent of the burnout people are experiencing.”

Recently, the NDP released results from a FOIPOP that showed how short term illness leave has increased by 60 percent since 2013 as workers suffer from burnout and get sick from being overwhelmed and under-supported in the workplace. See link here:

On May 9, the NSGEU sent a letter to government outlining our concerns regarding caseloads/workloads and burnout. (See NSGEU Letter here: In the letter, we offered some suggestions on how management might improve the working conditions for our members. These suggestions came from front-line workers themselves who know the services they provide and the needs of their clients.

In their response, government indicated they are in agreement with a number of these suggestions. (See government response letter here: This includes creating Float, Intake, and Screening Teams to assist in addressing caseload/workload management and the timely filling of short term and longer term vacancies. It also includes more Occupational Health & Safety support.

“We are hearing from our members that they are still in crisis,” says MacLean. “The government needs to move quickly to support Child Protection workers. We have a good response on paper but vulnerable kids need to see immediate action. Those on the front lines are doing incredible work but they are telling us that they need help and change is not happening fast enough.”


For more information, please contact:

Deedee Slye

NSGEU Communications Officer

902-424-4063 (office) 877-556.7438 (toll free)

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