Breaking The Caseload Ratio Barrier

Dr. CJ Cook, DBABlog

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

At Inland Regional Center (IRC) we believe wholeheartedly in the need to lower caseload ratios, which in turn will directly benefit the Clients we serve in a positive way. At the same time, we openly recognize the challenges we face in meeting the requirements set forth in Welfare & Institutions (W&I) Code section 4640.6(c) and seek public input annually to assist in meeting those commitments.

As of September 22, 2022, service coordinator caseload ratio survey guidelines also required IRC to report on current caseloads as of October 1, 2022. IRC did not meet all the required caseload ratios mandated by W&I Code section 4640.6(c). Specifically, IRC did not meet the required caseload ratios for the highlighted categories noted in the table below:

IRC has continued to experience tremendous growth in our Client population during the past several years. According to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), at the end of December 2022, IRC had 47,829 Clients, including those in the intake assessment process. On average, our Lanterman Act intake team has 1300 applications in various stages of the assessment process each month. Our Early Start intake team processes, on average, 700 referrals monthly from birth to age 3.

To meet the demand of Client growth, IRC’s Human Resources team assists the Management team in posting, screening, and scheduling candidates to fill critical positions that in turn lowers the caseload ratio. Once hired, our Training and Developing team provides a training program, assisted by unit mentors, to successful onboard new hires and provide an in-person training experience deep rooted in our history and our mission.

IRC’s Executive Management Team revamped the New Staff Sponsorship Program for all new hires, commonly referred to as the mentor program. The process of mentoring new staff by senior staff is designed to teach and coach our new hires. This updated process will foster more knowledgeable and engaged staff to serve our Clients better.

IRC is now incentivizing our bilingual staff with a monthly stipend. We want to meet the community’s needs and adequately compensate our team for reading, writing, and speaking Spanish for our Spanish-speaking parents/clients. We believe this stipend will assist in recruiting candidates to support the agency’s continued growth and assist in the reduction of the disparities in our Purchase of Services.

Prior to the pandemic, IRC’s recruitment process consisted of in-person interviews and assessments, attending college career fairs, and posting job ads on Monster and LinkedIn. Once the pandemic hit, and California was in a state of emergency, IRC implemented a remote work schedule for employees and a hiring freeze also went into effect for a short amount of time. When the time came for IRC to start hiring again to fill both growth and replacement positions, the former way of recruitment and interviewing was not an option. This allowed the Human Resources team to develop a new digital recruitment process where video and virtual interviews have become the new normal for the agency.

While many positives have come from virtual recruitment, it also brought a few challenges. There are often connection and communication issues with virtual interviews should there be a glitch with the sound or video. It could also make it difficult for a candidate to build rapport with a hiring manager if someone is uncomfortable speaking on camera.

IRC hosted a Job Fair on Saturday, October 22, 2022, designed to lower the caseload ratio concerns and assist with coming into compliance with W&I Code section 4640.6(c). IRC managers interviewed for over 200 new positions in Case Management, Administrative Support, Clinical Services, Intake, Finance, and more!

In a letter to Lavinia Johnson dated January 17, 2023, DDS recognizes the challenges IRC faces with recruiting and onboarding new staff and appreciates our on-going efforts in hiring staff that will lead to reduced caseload ratios.

IRC needs your input- Please send your suggestion on how to lower the caseload ratio to [email protected]

Interested in joining our team? Check out our Careers Page and apply today!

Posted by:

Dr. CJ Cook, DBA

As Program Administrator, CJ is responsible for the proactive oversight of various units within IRC, including Community Management, Service Access and Equity, and Training and Development. CJ's oversight extends to Language Access and Cultural Competency (LACC), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), equity in the Purchase of Service (POS), and the National Core Indicator (NCI) project. Furthermore, CJ is tasked with managing the IRC's Performance Contract with DDS and overseeing Emergency Services.

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