State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

DePasquale pushes for more child welfare funding

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