Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo announced a comprehensive new eight-point plan to enhance Child Protective Services (CPS) in Monroe County.
“We know child abuse happens in every state, in every county, and in every town, village, and city. The sad truth is it happens in homes across this community,” said Dinolfo. “Today I am announcing a comprehensive new eight-point plan for CPS. We know the societal challenges facing CPS here are not unique to our community. I happen to believe we can always do better. Together we are going to do just that, right here in Monroe County.”
The new eight-point plan announced by Dinolfo includes:
1. Dinolfo’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.
2. Dinolfo’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.
3. 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.
4. A local Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline will be reestablished. The local hotline was closed in 2015. A local hotline allows for better vetting of vital reports made to CPS.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. The Monroe County Department of Human Services will collaborate with a trusted community partner to develop a CPS recruitment and retention public marketing campaign.
8. A CPS Staff Development Coordinator will be assigned to also function as a Recruitment Coordinator, with a goal of helping CPS recruits move from application to employment.
The new eight-point plan is designed to complement the County’s existing efforts to ensure the full and robust function of CPS, with many initiatives dating back to the start of Dinolfo’s tenure. Existing or previously launched efforts include:
· Authorization as of 2016 to begin “overfilling” all CPS vacancies, with a goal of having all Caseworker positions filled as soon as possible.
· An increase in the number CPS Caseworker Civil Service Tests offered annually, from two previously to three tests per year presently.
· The launch of a new process to allow for the immediate local scoring of CPS Caseworker Civil Service exams, forgoing a protracted state process.
· The 2017 hiring of a team of new Per Diem CPS Caseworkers to assist in clearing the oldest active CPS cases.
· The 2016 hiring of a new Staff Development Coordinator to help facilitate the continued professional development of CPS staff at all levels.
· Increased CPS partnership with local school districts and community stakeholders to provide education and awareness about child wellness, abuse and neglect
Dinolfo encourages the public to immediately make any reports of suspected child abuse or maltreatment to the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-342-3720.