7/22/15: EC Department of Social Services Monthly Legislative Report Reveals Drop in Caseloads, Rise in Closed Cases

Modified: July 22, 2015 3:56pm

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Number of Open CPS Investigations Moves Below 2,900; 935 Cases Closed By End of June

ERIE COUNTY, NY—The Erie County Department of Social Services’ monthly report to the Erie County Legislature for June 2015 shows a significant decrease in both the total Child Protective Services (“CPS”) caseload size across the Department as well as in the number of cases closed by the last day of the month.

At the end of June 2015, there were a total of 2,892 open CPS cases in Erie County, down more than 2,000 from a high of 4,918 in May 2014. In another encouraging sign, there was an average of approximately 2,900 open CPS cases per month from April-June 2015, compared to an average of 4,706 open cases for the same time period in 2014. In addition, 935 cases were closed at the end of June 2015, the highest monthly closure rate in 2015.

“The Department of Social Services is proud of the progress made in our Child Protective Unit,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger, Ph.D. “Due to the hard work of our dedicated employees, caseloads are half of what they were less than a year ago. This gives workers more time to perform investigations and ultimately help children and families in need.”

The monthly report also shows that case intake dipped to 858 in June while the number of overdue investigations (those taking longer than seven days to complete following an initial complaint) has also significantly decreased, from a high of 3,296 at the end of May 2014 to less than half that, or 1,506 by the end of June 2015. The report was submitted to the Legislature on Friday, July 17.

Under the leadership of the Poloncarz administration, Erie County has embarked on a long-term course of action to proactively address the issues of child abuse, neglect, and poverty in our community. The addition of new CPS workers with investigative skills, a reorganization of the Department of Social Services to more closely monitor issues and assets, and a new collaboration with the Buffalo Public Schools and the Say Yes Foundation to provide students with mental health and other services have already been completed, as have agreements with local hospitals to station CPS workers there. Other collaborations to provide CPS liaisons to all public schools in Erie County, as well as to law enforcement agencies, are on the horizon.

In addition, the Poloncarz administration authored and presented 19 reform proposals, which are currently in the hands of the WNY delegation of the NYS Legislature, designed to improve the function of the CPS system statewide. The 19 reforms fall into five categories: Increasing CPS Powers to Help Children; Improving the Quality of Reporting to the Statewide Central Register (“SCR”); Punishing Abusers and Protecting Children; Modernizing the Child Welfare System; and Other Critical Reforms.