York County CYF, other human services agencies move to merit-based hiring

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

York County's human services agencies are no longer required to hire employees through the state civil service database.

The York County Office of Children, Youth and Families, along with the Area Agency on Aging, the York/Adams MH-IDD and the York/Adams Drug and Alcohol Commission, will now accept applications directly through the county's online job database.

The change was effective Feb. 1, and as of Feb. 14, there were more than 30 county government job openings.

For York County CYF in particular, ending the civil service requirement is a welcome change.

The agency has struggled in recent years with high staff turnover and unfilled caseworker vacancies, a problem facing child welfare services across the state and the country, said Terry Clark, director of York County CYF.

"Our goal is to be able to fill all the vacancies that occur much more quickly," Clark said.

CYF has reduced its caseworker vacancies over the last few months, and Clark said there are six unfilled positions as of Feb. 14.

More:DePasquale praises York County CYF's progress in new audit report

With the civil service system, York County's human services agencies were limited to hiring applicants who had passed the state civil service exam, which narrowed the pool of applicants.

Under the civil service system, the CYF human resources department would send a survey to candidates in the civil service database to ask if they were interested in a caseworker job.

CYF then pursued those who responded to the survey.

When the State Civil Service Commission switched to a new database software program called NeoGov in April 2018, it wiped all civil service applicants from the database and required them to reapply.

This meant there was no longer an applicant pool, and the county's human services agencies were unable to fill vacant positions until the database was repopulated with eligible candidates.

For months before the switch to NeoGov, starting in January 2018, the commission had stopped adding new names to the database in anticipation of the software change.

More:York County officials: State switch made hiring child protective services caseworkers more difficult

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Clark said the vacancies kept growing because the agency's applicant pool through the civil service database kept shrinking.

Now, any qualified candidate for the county's human services agencies can apply through the county's online job portal.