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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

DePasquale: One of Every Five Child Abuse Calls Goes Unanswered

Earlier this month, I published a story calling child abuse America's hidden epidemic.It's going to stay that way. According to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, over 42,000 calls to the state hotline for reporting suspected child abuse (1-800-932-0313), went unanswered last year. According to an ABC27 report, that's roughly one out of every five calls. The reasons cited were lack of staffing in Human Services and lack of funding from the state legislature.

DePasquale states that, in addition to missing over 44,000 calls, the state Department of Human Services failed to track or monitor nearly one-third of the calls received. Supervisors monitored only seven calls in 2015 (0.005%).

In the land of midnight payraises, the state legislature is busy trying to figure out ways to soak more money from the working poor with online gambling. Governor Wolf is promoting six-pack sales at WaWa, turning Pennsy into Jersey.

And 20% of the calls reporting child abuse are being ignored.


Anonymous said...

Guess these kids just aren't important enough Bernie. Shame shame shame.

Anonymous said...

These needs to be a voice for these necessary services at both the county and state level. Hopefully we have some knowledgeable and articulate people in these matters who can speak to both the county and state on the needs to not forget the big responsibilities of our government.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Chris Hansen and the predator show that was pure gold.

Anonymous said...

Last year, the state required EVERY K12 employee to undergo training on signs of child abuse and made it clear that they are LEGALLY responsible to place that phone call to DHS. Millions have been spent on training at the local level. Obviously, the people in the schools have been calling, as they are legally required to do, and the state is dropping the ball. Absolutely shameless considering the training and the various background checks (including FBI fingerprinting) and training employees were required to do.

After Jerry Sandusky, they were all deemed guilty and needed to prove themselves innocent. Meanwhile, the calls go unanswered. It's an example of a short-sighted "solution" without proper staffing or funding to see it through.

Anonymous said...

In the know...

Locally, the Children and Youth agencies are in tatters. The have the highest turnover rate in County Government and approximately 70% of the workforce is new. They are over-worked, under-paid and rarely appreciated or respected- on so many levels. It is even worse in the local foster care agencies.

Sure, feel-good measures were put in after the Penn State/Sandusky fiasco, but without adequate funding and competent, experienced workers, it is difficult, if not impossible to meet (never mind surpass) expected goals.

Unfortunately, I could only offer a few suggestions or solutions; which would not amount to much. I don't begrudge the dedicated professionals who offer their heart and soul to enter this social work profession, but in a simple, fundamental analogy, they are putting band-aids on broken bones and antibiotic ointment on incest, rape and torture daily.

Anonymous said...

As usual, DePasquale points out a problem but offers no solutions. The reality is, the outrageous cost of government is strangling the taxpayer, AND ALSO preventing much-needed services from being provided.

You want more money for Children & Youth funding, how about:

1) Selling the state stores? Nope, can't do that even though almost every other state is able to do without our current system.

2) Reforming pensions to a type of plan that the taxpayers can afford, and to which almost all business moved to decades ago? Can't do that either, EVEN IF IT ONLY APPLIES TO NEW HIRES.

3) Cutting some programs in the $80-some BILLION dollar budget to help out? Surely there's some program that's not working or not as high of a priority. Nope, all government programs are working great, efficient, and needed. Forever.

4) Eliminating prevailing wage for state & local projects, which would stop the artificial inflation of government projects and allow state and local governments to stretch their tax dollars even further? Whoa, crazy talk there! Government needs to pay more for everything.

Surely any one of the above would provide more than enough funding to answer a few more phone calls on child abuse, yet DePasqaule and Wolf are the first to fight any such proposal.

We have the highest corporate net income tax in the country (which is killing job growth), the highest gas tax, and a multitude of taxes at every level of government. Sorry if it still isn't enough to feed the beast, but the taxpayer's tapped out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The function of an auditor general is to point out problems, like when a school superintendent is paid not to be there. The solutions in most cases are very obvious. You 't scream about child abuse and then not fund the agencies that investigate it. to your points:

1. I don't feel strongly about state stores. That is my personal preference. I hate how jersey is set up. But that is personal.

2. I support pension reform for new hires.

3. You fail to ID a signle program, but I would support cutting wasteful programs that do not solve anything, starting with the legislature.

4. The elimination of prevailing wage is a gimick to make the wealthy more wealthy and to shrink the middle class even more. The anti-union animus is getting old. I would prefer to see prevailing wages paid everywhere.

I would reduce the coprorate income tax, and don't like the gas tax. But let me remind you it is something that was foisted upon us by a republican Governor and legislature. Thanks for your help.

Now get off your soapbox and start hiring caseworkers.

Anonymous said...

10:03 here again:

1) I really wouldn't care what would happen with the state stores, if everything were rosy. But it isn't. We have a system that's antiquated, costly, and could be off-loaded for substantial revenues, both immediate (sale proceeds) and ongoing (license fees).

2) Glad you're onboard with pension reform. I wish Wolf and DePasquale would be as well. It's probably the largest dollar-value item they could address, and we're going to get crushed because of their failure to do so.

3) It's not my job to find programs that aren't working and could be cut. That would be the job of someone like um, let's see, THE PA AUDITOR GENERAL. I think everyone realizes that some wasteful programs surely exist in an $82 BILLION dollar budget. We're not hunting unicorns here.

4) The elimination of prevailing wage is not some gimmick. It's a way of having government make purchasing decisions based on several factors, including the best price available. It promotes competition among vendors and gets the taxpayer the best deal possible. When you hire a contractor or make a purchase, do you artificially raise the price for them? Or do you make your decision based on a combination of price and who you think can do the best job? Why wouldn't you want government to have that same ability?

5) Yes, the gas tax hike came from a Republican governor, a handful of Republican lawmakers, and a large amount of Democrat lawmakers. The Republican Governor was rightly held accountable in his next election. If you think I'm crying about that, you're dreaming and your missing the point. We're already paying more than we can afford to in taxes. I wish the others who went along with it (from both parties) would have also paid the price.

6) Does DePasquale state how much is needed for all the phone calls to be answered? Again, I'm willing to bet that any one of the suggestions above (which isn't every opportunity available) would more than cover the funds needed.

7) If you want more caseworkers, take your complaint to Wolf. He has more than enough money already, he's just blowing it elsewhere.

8) This is more than likely another political ploy by DePasquale to help Wolf increase the state budget. Where was DePasquale last year when Wolf was withholding state and federal funding for such services during the budget crisis? How many of those unanswered calls were because of that? I suppose DePasqaule didn't cover that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You don't get it. I don't give a shit whether the party is Democrat or republican. i am not really that much of a partisan. I am only registered Dem so i can vote in a primary and i lean that way slightly.

I think the Pa. Auditor General has been a hound dog at finding waste in gov't,much more so than any of the previous occupants of that office. But he is a Democratic auditor general, and be honest, that's what really bothers you. He has found numerous wasteful programs, especially in the schools, like a kid in a candy store.

Elimination of prevailing wage is part of the ruling class war on the middle class and working poor.It should be opposed by anyone with an ounce of common sense.

I completely support pension reform, and for all i know, so does DePasquale. Not every Democrat is opposed to pension reform, but it seems to be more convenient for you to think that way so your little head doesn't hurt so much.

As for what DePasquale knows, check out his news release and interim report. It is not hard to figure out, but again, it might make your head hurt. Don't make me do your research for you.

In the end, this is about children. And you are talking about everything else. No wonder you Rs have a reputation for being heartless pricks. Here I thought it was just me.

Get off your soapbox and start funding human services. Mk?

Anonymous said...

10:03 - Or levy a tax on fracking.

Anonymous said...

The anti-union animus is getting old

I read your stridently anti-union screeds on this site in the past.

Anonymous said...

11:01 - If we aren't "hunting unicorns" you'd be able to name ONE program to cut to offer significant funds back to the general budget.

Anonymous said...

If you want to collect welfare you need to get your tubes tide. Kids are being raised in drug addicted welfare houses with half a parent present at best. I am not blaming the kids but they've become a commodity in the welfare world.
You can sell your kids ss numbers at tax time and also receive more benefits depending on your household head count. The children never see this benefit and are lucky to be fed at school.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that rather than deal with the topic at hand we need to consistently go over these political taking points. I swear, ever since Limbaugh and Fox harnessed untapped anger, people will shot themselves in the foot to scream and yell about politics. Everything is a political war. With Trump we now see the culmination of years of Party based hate. Progressives, liberals and Democrats are evil and anti-America. Why not tell that to the millions who have worked themselves to death in coal mines and fought and fight in our wars.

You folks really need to get past your hatred so you can work on the problems instead of "standing on a soapbox" as Bernie would say on every single issue. The need fro well funded Human Services programs is a people issue not a political issue.

Anonymous said...

2:19: That post is absolutely ridiculous. Believe it or not, like it or not, but President Clinton overhauled welfare benefits. There are term limits and lifetime limits; regardless.

Everyone still blames "welfare" and hates democrats because of it. Again, there were many problems before Clinton, but he worked with Congress on BOTH sides and firmed it up.

However...and here is the big however...once people realized that they could no longer receive "welfare" they way it was prior to Clinton, many people started to feign disability (ADHD, Fibromyalgia, herniated disc, etc...) and many Republican doctors were/are more than willing to sign off on a disability claim because they get a percentage.

Stop blaming "welfare" and democrats. President Clinton did the right thing and maybe Secretary will continue his work and firm of SSD to those who need it.

Anonymous said...

If you want something to change, vote AGAINST your State rep and Senator. They are doing NOTHING. Marcia Hahn should be the first to go.

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:37,I have never been anti-union, but opposed public sector unions until I witnessed several public sector union employees getting screwed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

In the meantime, the phone is going unanswered.

Anonymous said...

People, people, people:. Why all this fuss? Just wait a decade or two and there won't be any child abuse. It will all be a matter of sexual orientation,and of course, who are we to have laws against that? Just ask NAMBLA. If two men want to persuade a minor girl to join them in a three-day marriage, who are we to discriminate against that?

Anonymous said...

1:30 is a sick fuck. Are you too vapid to understand a distinction between sexual orientation and pedophilia?

Anonymous said...

They have been just a commodity for much much longer and the perents have no clue as to the fact of stock market trading?!
Re:publican redd

Anonymous said...

Excellent rebuttal. Raise the PIT.

Anonymous said...

Properly funded the defined benefit is a better investment than turning over everything to Wall Street. It's a fact the administration of the 401k is costly.

Anonymous said...

This pathetic sad story. This reminds me of the head of the TSA getting a huge 6 figure bonus even though his department failed 90% of the time when they were tested, on stopping contraband from getting on the planes. He got his cash , his benefits and then he was asked to resign and he did. No consequences, bc he will also leave with full benefits and full pension. No accountability ever !!!
This reminds me of the VA handing out bonus cash after bonus cash to their top heavy administrators , while our Vets get the shaft.
We all know what the real issue is here and in the case of the other examples listed above. But when one points out the real issue, you are called an anti union / anti govt worker hater...yet that is the exact problem . To poo poo this case and other govt cases , is not being honest.
This is not unusual. This is an epidemic. This is not just in our state, it is in all of the states. Over bloated, poorly run systems. The people are promised ever single election that there will be an over haul and yet it never happens. I watched 3-4 governors promise the states child protection service would be improved and none delivered an efficiently run system all in the name of protecting who? the kids , the workers or the disgusting culture. These agencies have some amazing people working , but the culture is disgusting. no need to look at the state .

Anonymous said...

Maybe pay those people who check bags more than minimum wage?

Anonymous said...

lol 8:49 . do you have any clue what they and their buds get paid? so if we pay more, we will be better protected. get lost ... this is why unions should be banned in public service , especially in the federal govt.
since you have no clue, here is the latest posting on USA jobs for TSA agents .
Now come back and tell us how they get minimum wage..


Bernie O'Hare said...

I am really beginning to get annoyed at the insensitivity of assholes like you who want to deflect attention away from the real issue - child abuse reports going unanswered. From this point, I delete.