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York County hopeful state will fully license child welfare office

Written by Rick Lee/York Daily Record | Nov 17, 2016 7:28 AM
York_administrative_center.jpg

York County Administrative building (Photo: Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record)

County office of Children, Youth and Families has been on provisional licensing status since 2014

(York) -- After failing to reach mandatory requirements for two years, the York County Office of Children, Youth & Families will learn next week if it will finally receive a full operating license or be taken over by the state.

The local child welfare office has received four consecutive provisional operating licenses, putting it in position for a takeover. It initially was placed on provisional operating status in November 2014 and has been unable since then to qualify for a full operating license.

According to inspections by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, which oversees the state's child welfare agencies, the local office was repeatedly short-staffed and failed to properly document some cases.

Under a provisional license, the agency's daily operations are subject to frequent inspections by the commonwealth. Under a full license, those inspections are annual.

The most recent inspection of the county agency was on Oct. 5 and 6, according to the DHS.

County spokesman Mark Walters said in an email on Wednesday that the agency was not compliant in some areas during that onsite inspection. He did not specify those areas, but said that the October inspection examined intake, in-home and placement services as well as adoptions.

He also said the DHS summary of that inspection will be available to the public after the DHS reaches its decision concerning the agency's licensing.

The DHS media office stated Wednesday that, "As a result (of the non-compliance issues), the county submitted a plan of correction which is currently under review.

"A decision will be made on the status of their license within the next week."

The DHS said the county agency's provisional license, which was dated to expire on Tuesday, "will technically be extended until the decision is made next week..."

The extension is "for the purpose of continuity and to help ensure that the Department has the appropriate amount of time to make its decision," the DHS stated.

York County President Commissioner Susan Byrnes did not respond to a request for comment about the child welfare agency's status.

Walters said the local agency "continues to make changes in its practice and its performance and those changes have been recognized by the state in its review."

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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