The Brook Stagles Child Protective Services Staffing Act
In recent years, there have been several disturbing and tragic incidents involving children with an active Child Protective Services (CPS) complaint that is awaiting investigation. There have been concerns that Monroe County does not employ a CPS workforce sufficient to investigate all complaints of abuse, neglect or maltreatment in a timely manner. No one can disagree that protecting children is the most solemn and imperative duty placed upon elected officials. As such, it is critical that we start the process of creating a plan to deal with understaffing in CPS.
By enacting this legislation, we will be establishing a framework to help get our county from current CPS staffing levels to those more in line with existing best practices. It simply takes too long for complaints to be investigated under current staffing levels. According to data compiled by New York State, Monroe County ranks among the worst when it comes to the number of cases not investigated in a timely manner, among other alarming statistics. To ensure timely investigations, experts generally recommend that CPS workers investigating allegations of abuse, neglect or maltreatment have no more than fifteen concurrent cases each month.
According to the most recent data, 40% of our CPS workers had more than fifteen cases in February of this year. That is far too high and completely unacceptable. Some reports have indicated that there are workers who have more than fifty cases in a given month. If true, that is profoundly alarming.
Tragically, children have been murdered under circumstances that some link, in part, to the deficient staffing levels in CPS. We cannot stand idly by while such alleged problems impact the most vulnerable among us. To address these problems, we must have a community solution that is put together transparently and with adequate input from key stakeholders.