PRESS RELEASE: Georgia Budget and Policy Institute Releases 2025 Fiscal Year Budget Overview for the Department of Human Services (DHS)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and its Director of Economic Justice, Ife Finch Floyd, have released a budget overview for the Department of Human Services (DHS) for the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2024 and Fiscal Year (FY) 2025.

In this overview, Floyd highlights the Governor’s proposed budget, which includes an increase in spending by approximately $1 billion to DHS in both AFY 2024 and FY 2025. Floyd notes that child welfare, foster care, and adoption-related services account for approximately 63% of the agency’s budget, while federal low-income assistance programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) account for 16% of the agency’s budget.

The overview also highlights the Governor’s proposed $25 million increase to DHS, with most of the increase going towards pay raises. The proposed budget includes a 4% cost of living adjustment for state employees and an additional salary increase for child welfare caseworkers. Despite hiring efforts, DHS’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) has struggled with high workloads and retention issues.

Eligibility workers are essential to DFCS’s core operations, yet the office has experienced a 12% turnover among eligibility staff in the first six months of FY 2024. The Governor’s proposal to spend $630,000 to hire 23 front desk staff is helpful, but it does not address the pressing need for more eligibility workers. Floyd emphasizes that the proposed budget creates an unnecessary disparity between entry-level eligibility workers and entry-level child welfare workers. While child welfare workers have seen a major pay increase, entry-level eligibility workers have only seen a growth of 8% in their salaries.

“Governor Kemp’s proposed budget for the Department of Human Services is a step in the right direction, but there are still issues that need to be addressed. While we applaud the proposed pay raises for state employees and the additional pay increase for child welfare caseworkers, we must also prioritize addressing the retention issues and workload concerns facing DFCS’s eligibility workers. That means a balanced approach for pay raises for all DFCS frontline workers. It is essential to retain eligibility workers to preserve the progress made by DFCS and ensure Georgians get the quality service and support they deserve.”

For more information or to access the report, please visit GBPI’s official website.

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