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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Child & Family Services Administrator Challenges Audit Report

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus
/
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol

Today, the state agency that oversees child abuse and neglect services challenged parts of an audit of their work released last fall.

In front of a legislative panel today, Child and Family Service Division Administrator Sarah Corbally acknowledged truth in most of the audit. It raised problems with inconsistent documentation, limited oversight, and a lack of management information.

But she disagreed with the finding saying the number of child abuse cases over the past decade has not grown, and that rising case numbers are not the main problem within the Division.

"The number of investigations carried by the average Montana child protection specialist is four times the number recommended by the Child Welfare League of America.”

She said until workers are given more reasonable caseloads the Division will continue to have high turnover in staff, and consistent burnout in employees.

An audit division spokesperson said the big problems within the Division are rooted in investigation organization and an outdated case management system from the 1990s.

Corbally says an updated case management system will be in place by the end of  2016, but problems with staffing may take longer to address. She said Montana lags behind neighboring states when it comes to pay and workload expectations for its child welfare caseworkers.

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