Brook Stagles - 8 Point Plan for CPS
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My name is John Geer and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of you who have supported my efforts since the tragic death of my granddaughter Brook Stagles. Since her death occurred while having an open case with Monroe County Child Protective Services, I have made it my goal to ensure that no more children in Monroe County suffer needlessly or die due to abuse or neglect and especially not because CPS doesn’t have adequate resources.
As a result, I have pushed hard for months for the passage of draft legislation known as the Brook Stagles Staffing Reform Act. While this legislation was being embraced on a bipartisan basis, Monroe County Executive announced her eight point plan to address deficiencies with the Child Protective Services that have resulted in low morale, huge caseloads, high attrition rates and difficulty filling vacancies.
According to her press release County Executive Dinolfo’s plan is as follows:
The county’s 2018 County Budget will reflect funding for 30 new CPS Caseworker positions. The net addition of 30 Caseworkers will bring total CPS staffing back above 2010 levels.
The county’s 2018 Budget will also include an upgrade to the CPS caseworker salary schedule. This increase in compensation will complement existing recruitment and retention efforts.
Handheld smart tablets will be made available to all CPS caseworkers in the field to reduce red tape and paperwork. The tablets will connect directly to CPS’s case management hub.
A local Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline will be re-established. The local hotline was closed in 2015 by Amy Natalie to save money. A local hotline allows for better vetting of vital reports made to CPS.
At Dinolfo’s request, the Monroe County Department of Human Services will conduct a comprehensive review of state laws, regulations and guidelines that govern CPS casework.
A new CPS Mentoring Program will be launched in 2018. It will include professional best practices, promote positive peer encouragement, and offer continued on-the-job training.
The Monroe County Department of Human Services will collaborate with a trusted community partner to develop a CPS recruitment and retention public marketing campaign.
A CPS staff development coordinator will be assigned to also function as a recruitment coordinator, with the goal of helping CPS recruits move from application to employment.
The plan as outlined is a great start. However, a plan is only as good as its execution. That is why I am asking the Monroe County Legislature to formally adopt legislation requiring periodic progress reports be provided to the legislature and the community – so that we can ensure that this plan to reform CPS, and provide the caseworkers much needed resources are provided in a timely manner. Monroe County leaders need to know that we are not going away and that we will hold them accountable until all the reforms are in place and until the social workers have all the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. Thanks again for your continued support of this critical issue.
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