Watson Agrees that Child Welfare System Must Be Improved
HARRISBURG – Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks/144th), chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee, today thanked Auditor General Eugene DePasquale for being a partner in helping to further protect children in Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, DePasquale released his State of the Child report, which detailed several observations about challenges within a broken child welfare system that is placing children at risk.

“I am grateful to have a partner such as General DePasquale who is as committed and passionate about protecting children as are our members of the House Children and Youth Committee,” Watson said. “His extensive report underscores what we on the legislative committee have known, and helps bring these issues to light. Our committee continues to investigate possible reforms and solutions that would help better recruit, train and retain these valuable and dedicated professionals. Caseworkers deserve to be valuable members of their communities, and addressing many of the observations in this report would go a long way in achieving that goal.”

During the past two sessions, the House Children and Youth Committee has had several hearings and conducted extensive research into the issue of caseworker training and the challenges these professionals face in carrying out their duties: emotionally and physically demanding cases; dangerous situations; tremendous volume of paperwork; inadequate training; high turnover; and low salaries.

Those hearings not only provided a necessary insight into child welfare offices around the state to committee members, but are working on developing further legislation – and even regulatory and internal department changes – that would lead to additional improvements.

“When we passed the updates to our child welfare laws in the 2013-14 session, those reforms were desperately needed, and we recognized that more would need to be done in our overall goal to protect children,” Watson said. “We always agreed that as the laws take effect, we will continue to look at the laws and their impact and make any necessary changes along the way. This reports highlights some of the ongoing challenges and weaknesses within the system, and we’ve been working since that time to appropriately address them. Ultimately, state government and counties must work together to ensure that caseworkers are properly trained and have the resources they need to address some of the most difficult situations.”

Representative Kathy Watson
144th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
KathyWatson144.com / Facebook.com/RepWatson

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