State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will meet with Cambria County Children and Youth staff Tuesday to discuss challenges the child welfare system faces.
DePasquale’s scheduled visit at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s John P. Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness comes in the wake of a special report he released last month, saying the child welfare system is setting up children and the caseworkers that serve them for failure.
His “State of the Child” study described the state’s system as inundated with new guidelines and reporting rules, while many caseworkers are dealing with increased caseloads, thanks to fallout from an opioid epidemic that also is, at the same time, creating other challenges.
Meanwhile, the caseworkers in charge of handling the caseload are underpaid, inadequately trained and plagued by high turnover rates because of it, DePasquale said last month.
Cambria County and 12 other counties in Pennsylvania served as samples for his study, which was part of a year-long look into the state’s child welfare system, State Auditor General’s Office Spokeswoman Susan Woods said.
“These caseworkers he’ll be meeting with are on the front lines every day, so this is a chance to sit down and have a face-to-face discussion with them to see what they’re dealing with and what they think,” Woods said.
DePasquale also is focused on “where we go, moving forward,” she added.