HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A new report says the county caseworkers who investigate child abuse in Pennsylvania are underpaid, inadequately trained, plagued by high turnover and face dangerous conditions.
The auditor general’s office released a “State of the Child” study Thursday that says the child welfare system is swamped by new complaints and reporting rules under state laws passed in response to the Jerry Sandusky and clergy child sexual abuse scandals.
Democratic Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says the Department of Human Services should establish an independent ombudsman position to advocate for at-risk children.
He’s also proposing better training, less paperwork and ways to put more caseworkers in the field.
DePasquale says 46 children died and 79 nearly died in the state last year, while spending on child protection was nearly $2 billion.