Auditor: Staff shortages overwhelmed York County child agency

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – York County’s child protection agency was overwhelmed by high staff turnover for years, and changes to the state’s child abuse reporting law only made the problem worse, Pennsylvania’s auditor general said Thursday.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his office’s audit of York County Children and Youth Services raised more questions about the burden placed on child agency caseworkers.

He said York County’s agency was already overwhelmed by staff shortages when the law changed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial. Calls to the Pennsylvania’s child-abuse hotline increased 39 percent after the changes, and York County had the state’s fourth-highest reports at 1,832 in 2015.

DePasquale said a special report will examine the job stresses, high turnover rates, and minimal training of child protection caseworkers in York and 12 other counties. That report is expected to be completed by fall.

He added the audit that covered July 2010 to June 2014 also found York County CYS owes the state $578,400.

The bulk of that amount, he said, is because auditors disallowed costs the agency claimed for health benefits paid for retired employees. Agencies may claim only costs related to health benefits paid for active employees.

York County CYS was operating under provisional licenses from the state Department of Human Services from November 2014 through November 2016.

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