Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - A report released Monday shows that Child Protective Services in Monroe County is significantly below average compared to other counties in New York.
According to the New York State Office of Child & Family Services, Monroe County ranked No. 54 out of 64 counties in overdue investigations.
In addition, CPS workers in Monroe County ranked 40th when ranked among other counties for percentage of workers with more than 15 active investigations and the number of timely safety assessments.
A new training class of caseworkers was recently assigned to teams and two more training classes are also scheduled, but the report said the additions didn’t fill all existing vacancies.
The Federation of Social Workers said despite these additions, they believe high turnover and attrition will continue to keep caseload levels high in CPS.
“This report is not in any way surprising," Federation of Social Workers spokesperson John Rabish said. "We have been warning the County and the community for two years now, about how the County’s failure to provide adequate staff is seriously impairing the ability of CPS workers to do their jobs.”
Rabish said this report should be embarrassing to Monroe County leadership since it places those who are most vulnerable at risk.
"It's concerning and it should be concerning to everybody in this community," Rabish added. "It's very disappointing. We were optimistic there would be greater transparency."
He claims the county should have released the state's report, but instead he had to provide the information.
"I don't understand why that can be acceptable to not only the county administration but people in this community." Rabish continued. "The federation feels we have a moral responsibility to be an advocate for those children - this is not a political issue."
Reports of child abuse and neglect in January 2017 were up 11 percent compared to January 2016, according to Rabish.
Monroe County Commissioner of Human Services, Corinda Crossdale issued the following statement in response to the state report:
“Monroe County remains dedicated to the safety of the children in our community. Throughout 2016 and 2017 we have authorized hiring more caseworkers than available positions, recruited and authorized the hiring of per diem caseworkers and increased the number of caseworker recruitment classes. Attracting caseworkers for the field of child protective services is a challenge in many counties across NYS and to address this challenge we have hired an employment coordinator and we are currently at work to redesign our recruitment efforts. Moreover, we encourage eligible candidates to join us by taking the exam and joining an extraordinary team of devoted caseworkers.”