Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander also said if the abortion ban does hold up in court, Kentucky will need more foster parents.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s child welfare agency said social worker shortages continue to be a problem for the department.

“We are, right now, struggling to hire enough social workers,” said Eric Friedlander, secretary for Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

This year’s state budget included funding for the CHFS to hire 200 more social workers, but filling those positions may be difficult. 

As of March 31, CHFS said it had 223 vacancies for social workers of various skill levels. 

RELATED: Senate approves budget bill with state worker raises, extra education funding

CHFS said they’ll increase job advertisements on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Handshake. The cabinet will also attend job fairs at regional offices to recruit. 

“We need to make sure, not only that the funding is there, but that the workforce pipeline is there,” Friedlander said. “It’s like nurses, right? We need to make sure that there are enough nurses, there are enough people in the pipeline to fill those positions and who want to fill those really challenging and important positions.”

Friedlander said if the abortion ban does hold up in court, Kentucky will also need more foster parents. 

RELATED: 10-year-old girl traveled to Indiana for abortion, man gets charged with rape

“We always need more people who are willing to be foster parents, always,” Friedlander said. 

As of July 3, there were almost 8,700 children in foster care across the commonwealth. 

“Having folks who are willing to step forward, who are willing to volunteer, who are willing to make a difference in that child’s life, that’s what we’re going to need to do as a community,” Friedlander said. 

Click here to learn more about becoming a foster parent in Kentucky.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email [email protected], visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.