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DCFS faces scrutiny over effectiveness

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Posted: Apr 14, 2014 5:45 PM by Troy Gaulden
Updated: Apr 14, 2014 5:45 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: DCFS, audit, legislative auditor, child abuse, children and family services, children

BATON ROUGE - The effectiveness of the Department of Children and Family Services is a point of concern for the legislative auditor.

When it comes to investigating and removing at-risk children from dangerous environments, Children and Family Services takes charge.

"They have to get to know the families. They have to have the right supports, but they have to be able to do their job effectively. I do believe that our system is a strong one," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier.

A legislative auditor report found that DCFS could improve in areas like turnover, caseloads and timeliness. The audit found that the number of caseworkers went down 19 percent of the past few years, while the number of cases grew by 18 percent.

"There are small times where people do have maybe more cases than we would like for them to have. Our goal as I mentioned already is that we look at caseload every day. It's not easy to just move staff around," said Sonnier.

Despite increasing the number of timely responded cases, the report shows it sometimes took caseworkers more than 60 days to make contact with the people involved. DCFS says it will work to retain quality staff and give them proper training to keep children out of harm's way. Supervisors will also review cases that took too long in order to work more timely in the future.

You can review the legislative audit on DCFS here.

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