State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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DePasquale pushes for more child welfare funding

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 17, 2018 4:24 AM

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller said they're mostly in agreement on how to improve the child welfare system. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)


(Harrisburg) -- The state Auditor General is urging Governor Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to pump more money into the commonwealth's child welfare services.

In the wake of a report his office released on child welfare last year, Eugene DePasquale has been repeatedly calling the system "broken."

Now, he has issued his own series of recommendations for correcting a range of issues.

They include loosening regulations on data filing to make caseworkers' jobs easier, pumping $90 million into various programs and training, and having the state pay counties up-front to fill caseworker vacancies.

He acknowledged, a funding boost will be a hard sell in the spending-averse General Assembly.

"I'm just here to tell you that if it's important, they'll find it," he said. "The idea that they might feel a little pressure on this is not exactly something that's going to get me crying at night."

Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller said the administration mostly agrees with DePasquale's suggestions--though there are some concerns about changing how the state pays county offices.

"We've always had a state supervised, county-administered system," she said. "So, if we're funding everything, I think it just raises the question, do we still have that system?"

In DePasquale's initial report, he said one of the system's biggest problems is caseworkers who are under-trained and stretched too thin, which leads to a backlog of cases.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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