DHS director Howard Hendrick said officials have authorized workers in certain regions to work overtime to try to eliminate the backlog, but working long hours contributes to on-the-job stress, which can lead to higher employee turnover.
"We have been trying to hire everywhere we can,” Johnson said, adding that the agency has been running ads and recruiting at colleges.
Hendrick said it is difficult to keep employees because, "the work is hard.”
Nevertheless, he said he was confident the agency would catch up on the backlog.
The number of complaints usually goes up in August because children who have been at home go back to school, where signs of abuse and neglect are more apt to be seen and reported by others, he said.
"It takes awhile to get all those referrals worked,” he said.