State of emergency declared for Child Protective Services; administration temporarily moved to DYA

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Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has signed Executive Order 2021-02 relative to declaring a state of emergency with regard to the operations of the Child Protective Services (CPS) agency within the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) and temporarily designating the Department of Youth Affairs (DYA) as an administrative custodian for CPS for the duration of this emergency period.

As administrative custodian, DYA will have oversight of all CPS operations, including case and referral management, staffing and coordination, and funding and related account and financial information.

This declaration allows for the emergency movement of financials and human resources to CPS from DYA, especially as DPHSS continues to address the global COVID-19 pandemic. Transferring administration to DYA ensures longstanding issues at CPS are addressed, as outlined in Executive Order 2021-02.

“Child Protective Services was created to help our children—to ensure their safety and protect them from abuse and neglect. While we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our social workers at CPS, we must also take action when the system is no longer fulfilling its mission. For too long, cases went unreviewed, and too many children did not get the help they needed,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “By actively investigating and addressing the issues at this critical agency, we are safeguarding our children from any further harm, and I am confident that the leadership at DYA will get this done.”

“Governor Leon Guerrero and I re-established the Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs because we knew the effects of the pandemic disproportionately affect the homeless population, and homeless children are particularly vulnerable. There are shortfalls in the services these children and others are receiving.” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio. “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure our children are protected and safe.”

DYA will be required to report progress to DPHSS, and any decisions required under Guam law to be made by the appointing authority shall continue to be the responsibility of the Director of DPHSS.

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