It has been a couple of months since the Department of Youth Affairs assumed possession of operations at Child Protective Services.
The director gave PNC an update on the agency.
CPS is under the temporary custody of the Department of Youth Affairs after the Governor declared a state of emergency on its operations back in January.
Earlier this year, CPS had a backlog of about 900 referrals but with the help of retired social workers and 6 DYA personnel, they’ve caught up.
Referrals are reports of suspected maltreatment.
There is no backlog of referrals, according to Melanie Brennan, the executive director of DYA.
Brennan says the department has been addressing incoming referrals on a daily basis to prevent the build-up of another backlog.
She says it’s important for the department to address the referrals as soon as it’s reported because if not addressed early, it can affect the mental health of abused children or victims of neglect which would often lead them to suicidal thoughts, alcohol or substance abuse.
Another challenge the agency is addressing is the lack of social workers.
Brennan said that the recruitment process has been a bit slow, but it is progressing.
She says that three additional social workers have already began their first day on the job.
“What we are doing is onboarding social workers to address the case management issues. Also, we are looking for key candidates who really can sustain the efforts that we’ve made so far,” Brennan said.
Since January, the department has brought in 5 new employees onboard.
Brennan said she is looking to hire at least 10 to 12 new individuals to sustain their efforts.
She added that DYA will continue to assist the agency until enough social workers are on board.