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Statement from Senator Nancy Barto on release of work plan from the Department of Economic Security

“While I appreciate the urgency by which the Department has established a plan of action, I still feel that it lacks in detail and falls short on addressing the accountability that the public and legislators are demanding. Given what has transpired within DES, I am not confident that the agency can properly review each and every case in the short timeframe outlined and be assured that the issue is resolved once and for all, and that these cases have been thoroughly investigated. According to this work plan, DES assessed nearly 3,000 cases from November 15-17. How thorough could those assessments be?

The Child Protective Services Oversight Committee will want to review the work to date to deal with this caseload, but members will also want to ensure that tackling this group of cases doesn’t impact current caseload and backlog strategies. The report suggests that review of cases can place certain families in an alternative investigation category. We need to know what that entails and be assured that this does not further contribute to the backlog.

The systemic problem within CPS needs to be fixed. The public must know that this neglect of duty will never happen again and that the people responsible for this disturbing practice are held accountable. In addition, a long term reform of the agency is warranted to restore public confidence.”

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