Caseworkers Lie on Reports, Lose Foster Kids
Seventy caseworkers hired by the Department of Children and Families to keep track of foster kids lied about monthly visits.
Some kids went six months without seeing a caseworker, and the caseworkers have been fired. DCF is hoping a new GPS system will help keep better track of who is skipping visits, according to the Capitol News Service.
Over a two-year period, DCF lost track of six foster kids and left 14 in dangerous homes.
DCF Secretary George Sheldon was outraged when he found out about the lying caseworkers.
“I think it is totally unacceptable," Sheldon said. "We have an aggressive effort within the agency to investigate and document falsification. I have zero tolerance for that.”
The 70 caseworkers who have been fired and could face felony charges. Children Advocates said getting rid of the bad apples doesn’t solve the problem.
“We have had children that have gone missing," said Child Advocate Karen Woodall. "We have had deaths, and there is always this big flurry around doing something and generally what is done is not the long-term solution that is needed.”
Budget cuts and large case loads are at least partly to blame for the mix-up.
Child advocacy groups said caseworkers should handle no more than 15 foster kids at a time. Some DCF caseworkers have more than double that amount, according to the news service.
Secretary Sheldon said the new mobile tracking device will help keep better tabs on caseworkers.
Caseworkers will begin using the new devices this fall.
DCF has a team of investigators charged with uncovering false reports from caseworkers. There are more than 6,000 caseworkers in the state, with just 70 caught falsifying documents over a two-year period.
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