….. “Already, the child welfare agency has a backlog of 10,000 cases and an additional 12,000 whose investigations, started in the last budget year, have not been completed, according to an analysis by Children’s Action Alliance, one of the largest advocacy groups in the state. The reports of neglect increased by 36 percent from October 2007 to last March, and more children died as a result of maltreatment last year (70) than in 2007 (60), the analysis said. The agency says it has roughly 600 fewer caseworkers than what it would need to meet caseload standards.
Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and chief executive of the Children’s Action Alliance, said the challenges facing the agency were made worse by budget cuts during the recent recession, which ended many preventive services intended to help families before children are removed from their homes. Child care subsidies for working parents remain frozen, cuts to rates paid to child care providers have not been restored, and the money appropriated from federal grants for cash assistance programs continues to be directed to the agency’s general budget.”
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