Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration announced a major overhaul of the state’s foster care system out of the embattled Department of Children and Families Tuesday.

The state is working with SEIU Local 509, a union of human service workers that includes foster care employees.

The proposed reforms include increasing the number of social workers, hiring 29 new recruiters to find more foster families, and creating an online network for those families to communicate with DCF workers and with each other.

The reforms will also update a foster care policy that hasn’t been changed since 2008, according to Marylou Sudders, the state’s secretary of health and human services.

“Ten years ago we didn't have an opioid epidemic, and it's the number one reason why kids are now coming into care in the department,” Sudders said in a phone interview. “Their needs are are very different than kids of ten years ago. It's really updating, revising, modernizing a child welfare department.”

According to state data, approximately 80 percent of the children DCF serves live at home. The remaining 20 percent are placed in foster care. In the past five years, the number of children in the state’s foster care system has risen 20 percent.

Sudders says she hasn’t “priced out” the funding for the initiative, but she’s confident the budget will accommodate the changes.

“We will increase the department's budget to meet whatever the staffing needs are associated with this,” she said. “Our commitment is to do the work and to get the resources.”

The DCF has been criticized in recent years for offenses ranging from overworked and overburdened social workers to the deaths of more than 100 children under their care.

Since fiscal year 2015, the Baker-Polito administration has contributed an additional $190 million in DCF funding and added 300 front-line social workers.

“We've been building the foundation in order to now address this next level of reform,” Sudders said, “which is really foster care.”

Adriana Zwick, the DCF chapter president of the union representing Massachusetts foster care workers, has been on the front lines as a social worker for 25 years and says changes are long overdue. “I have never seen our foster care system look as bad as it did in these last five years,” she said. “It's the worst any of us have seen it.”

Zwick says she’s optimistic, but the reforms can’t come soon enough. “Maybe within state government, talking about something for two, three years seems like a normal pace,” she said. “But in the life of a child, that's an eternity.”