Wed September 25, 2013
Legislature hears case for additional Child Protection staff
The push is on to hire more Social Sevice workers in Erie County following the tragic death of 5-year-old Eian Brooks.
Brooks' grandmother said last week she called the agency at least 10 times for help. The mother's 26-year-old boyfriend Matthew Kuzdal has been charged with murder.
But along with increasing staff, Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer says the community needs to engage mothers and caregivers in "a different level of conversation" or else "bad outcomes" will continue.
"It's a conversation that we need to have as a community. The truth of the fact is that 96 CPS (Child Protective Services) workers or 102 or 103, whatever the number, are not going to be able to completely keep all children safe in this community," Dankert-Maurer told lawmakers.
"We have to talk about it together. How are we going to do this?"
Dankert-Maurer says "significant challenges in the community" are causing the safety net case load to "continue to go through the roof." She is seeking funding to hire ten new staff.
County Legislator Joseph Lorigo says the plan would not be "budget neutral" as claimed by the Poloncarz Administration.
"I don't want to see something thrown up against the wall. Let's hope it sticks. I'm not saying that is the case here. But I am saying, without additional information, I'm not so sure it will work," said Republican Legislator John Mills, leader of the Legislature's Minority Caucus.
Lawmakers could vote on the proposal as early as Thursday.