March 8, 2023
At CDS, we have always struggled to fill vacant positions
On Feb. 13, 2023, MSEA-SEIU Member Hannah Whitmore (shown with her daughter), a service coordinator for Child Development Services, provided the following testimony as a private citizen to the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations Committee and Education and Cultural Affairs Committee in support of fully funding and fully staffing Child Development Services:
To me, being fully staffed and funded means greater access to support and services to the children and families we serve at CDS, happier staff members, and a workplace that attracts new hires.
From my personal experience at CDS, we have always struggled to fill vacant positions. To fill the gaps in vacancies, many positions have been asked to do more work or increase work expectations to fill the staffing voids.
Many positions at CDS do not appropriately compensate workers with their pay. This has been leaving many vacant positions that do not get filled, directly affecting children and the services they can receive. Which then in turn creates heavier caseloads, occupational stress and a high employee burn out/turnover rate.
The children being served by CDS are an incredibly important but are also very vulnerable. All have unique and specialized needs that must be cared for by a variety of providers.
These services take a caring, passionate and driven provider. However, employees cannot pour from any empty cup. With staffing shortages, many of our CDS staff members are feeling overworked and unable to provide the quality of services they wish they could or lack the resources to do so, or are being asked to work outside of their originally tasked job.
A fully funded and staffed CDS means staff members are being compensated for their work, working hard to retain current staff and to hire new staff to fill the gaps that are missing. Ultimately, children in our state will be better served and be provided a greater amount of services due to an increase of providers.
Thank you! Hannah Whitmore