The Union County Board of Supervisors signed a lease agreement Monday, allowing for the county’s Family and Children Services to relocate in larger facilities.
The board made an agreement to lease property from John Ellis, located on Highway 348, in the former skating rink.
According to John Simpson, of the Union County Department of Human Services, the agreement is a 10-year lease of $2,900 a month.
“We’ve been in the process of moving in,” Simpson told the board. “We now have 19 social workers over there.
The required move follows in the wake of a lawsuit settlement requiring the state of Mississippi to hire more social workers.
The Olivia Y. lawsuit says that family and children’s case workers were overburdened and had dangerously high caseloads, and the settlement requires more social workers to be hired, as well as other changes to be made.
Simpson said that, prior to the settlement, Union County’s family and children services office only had eight social workers on staff. Following the ruling, the staff increased to 18, making it necessary to find larger facilities with more room.
Simpson told the board Monday that there is a possibility the office staff may increase yet again.
“[The state office] is talking like they might have a few more workers for us after the first of the year,” Simpson said. “That’s still being decided.
Currently, the department is only using a portion of the facility that Ellis owns.
“I have 3,000 square feet more in the building that I can have remodeled if need be,” Ellis said.
The board decided to wait and see before asking for more space.