Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Children and Families Committee Chair Donna Lupardo and Social Services Committee Chair Andrew Hevesi announced the passage of legislation to limit the active caseload for child protective services (CPS) workers to 15 active cases per month and require appropriate staffing levels at local offices.
"The men and women who commit their lives to ensuring the safety and well-being of children in this state have a tremendous responsibility on their shoulders," said Speaker Heastie. "It is important that they are supported in their efforts to provide quality care and supervision in an efficient and responsible manner."
"Child protective service workers are required to carry out regular visits and other routine duties to ensure that the children under their supervision are being cared for in a safe and stable environment," said Assemblymember Donna Lupardo. "These visits, mandatory court appearances and other time-consuming duties are a critical part of ensuring child welfare. Smaller caseloads are essential to allowing for sufficient time and resource allocation for each child."
The bill (A.10506, Lupardo) builds off of the recommendations in a 2006 study by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) that showed reduced caseloads have a significant benefit for the children under supervision. It would direct OCFS to create workload standards and ensure adequate staffing levels to support these limits.
"This is an important step forward to support the best interests of New York's children," said Assemblymember Hevesi. "We all know that raising a child is a 24-hour job and it simply is not feasible for one individual to have responsibility over so many households within the limited hours of a work-day. This bill is good for our CPS workers and for the families they work so hard to protect."
Danny Donohue, president of the Civil Service Employees Association said, "I applaud the Assembly and Senate for passing legislation that addresses the sad reality that children are harmed when child protective service departments are understaffed and have too many cases to investigate. A statewide uniformed caseload standard will ensure that child protective services workers are able to devote the necessary time and resources to these critical cases."