East Texas CPS workers honored for being mentors to new workers

East Texas CPS workers honored for being mentors to new workers

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Dachea Chumbley is back at work in her hometown as a CPS worker. The job can be challenging for the recent graduate of the University of Texas, but she has help from a mentor.

All of those in the program in East Texas were honored at a special program in Lufkin Tuesday afternoon.

"I knew if i could get in and make a difference with just one family, one set of parents, one set of children then I would be doing my part," Chumbley said.

Chumbley said the job comes with a stigma from misconceptions by people in the community. As a first year worker she has heard it all.

"You always hear, 'It's a department of baby snatchers, CPS doesn't listen to the family and we are just here to steal peoples families," Chumbley said. "None of that is true.

A program launched two years ago is trying to change that by pairing up new workers like Chumbley with veterans like Ladedra Wade. Wade said funding for the extra program has been worth it. Pointing out the program helps new hires get a solid understanding of the new role as well as build relationships with families so steps can be made to where children do not have to be pulled from homes. The program lasts three months.

"I have been with CPS for five years and a mentor since it started in 2015," Wade said. "The turnover rate is decreasing. It also saves tax payers money because a lot of times prior to this program it was having to be funded for people to leave their homes and go and stay in the hotel, gas, rent cars, so that has also decreased."

The hands on help is greatly accepted by the new employees that are trying to help rebrand the state organization that has been given federal orders to overhaul the system that is one of the largest in the country. Chumbley said the book work they learn in school and in orientation can only go so far.

"I just feel like you can give me all the book knowledge in the world but until you are actually out there in this environment dealing with it one on one, you have no idea what you are getting into," Chumbley said.

New legislation out of Austin from the recently completed session will give more funding and better policies that will help the case workers and the families they serve. The new legislation for reforming CPS will increase capacity for the system with a complete redesign, including an increased accountability for providers, and strengthen investigation standards.

"It lets us know that our work is not going unnoticed,"Wade said. "This is going to be a really good thing with their help."

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