PA’s Youth Services Problem / Veterans Sharing Stories

  • By Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk

PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale

On the Tuesday, October 3rd edition of WITF’s Smart Talk:

Pennsylvania’s child welfare system is broken and is putting children’s lives in danger.  That’s according to state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in his year-long State-of-the-Child report that identified caseworker staffing at county Children and Youth services departments as the root of the problem.  The report says counties don’t have enough qualified professionals, inadequate training, staggering caseloads and inappropriately low pay that all contribute to uncontrollable turnover.  For example, York County had a 90% turnover rate in caseworkers over a two-year period. 

New laws took effect in 2015 as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case that expanded the definition of child abuse and increased the number of those required to report abuse.  Consequently, the number of child abuse reports that counties had to investigate exploded. 

DePasquale pointed out that 46 children died last year as the result of abuse or neglect while 79 others were close to death.  All while the state spent $1.8 billion to protect the state’s children.

On Tuesday’s Smart Talk, we’ll discuss the findings of the report and a few of the recommendations to improve the situation with Auditor General DePasquale.


Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic documentary The Vietnam War resulted in many across the nation discussing aspects of the conflict that may have been difficult to talk about.  With that in mind, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle is hosting a discussion with veteransTuesday night entitled “Recovering Sacred Ground for All Generations.”   The program will provide an opportunity for the audience to share and reflect on their own experience and help facilitate continued dialogue concering the impact of war on their lives.

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Colonel William Barko (ret.) is the Executive Director of Operations for the Army War College Foundation and is coordinating the event.  Dr. Doug Johnson is a historian, Vietnam veteran and retired faculty member at the U.S. Army College.  Both join us on Tuesday’s Smart Talk.


– I believe that we should add another step before taking children out of the home. It would be great to have professionals gift classes for parents and have supportive professionals come in the home and work with the family as a step before taking the children out of the home is even considered.  – Ann, Chambersburg

– I cannot identify the person but X was a worker for the service in PA some years ago. I asked X why there are so many unfilled positions. Essentially the response was who would want to work with all the crazy people around?

There needs to be sifted from the number of reports false accusations or mistakes in reporting.

As you may know when the CWS engages mistakenly in taking away a child when it shouldn’t happen casts a pall over the CWS and gets a lot of attention.  – anon

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