Cathy Utz, Director of the State Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF), has been in contact with Controller Steve Barron to confirm the dates of accused murderer Sara Packer's employment with Northampton County. Incredibly, county administrators were unable to give her that information.It's one thing to stonewall the press or the public. It is quite another to play games with the state. Hopefully, this is just some sort of misunderstanding.
Over the years, Sara Packer had 30 foster children living under her roof. They came from Lehigh, Berks and Bucks County. She had no foster children that were from Northampton County, so far as anyone knows. It is my understanding that a NorCo CYF employee is unable to foster children up for placement in Northampton County. According to Barron, after the 2010 child abuse charges against Sara Packer's ex husband, she has been unable to foster children from anywhere. This is something the County administration could confirm if it spoke publicly.
According to Barron, state officials plan to interview every one of the foster children who lived under Packer's roof. Hopefully, that investigation will also include interviews with the personsin thoseadoption agencies who referred children to Packer.
It is unclear whether the state DHS will investigate the files on which Packer worked for NorCo. It is known that a county CYF lawyer has taken them for review. In my view, this requires an independent investigation, not a whitewash, and an interview with every family she touched.
Another disturbing point. Packer did work for a human services agency in the private sector after being let go by Northampton County. It is unclear whether this agency involved children.
I have also heard from someone calling himself "Max Quaad." Though county officials have done nothing to inform the public about the standards fora CYF caseworker, he has supplied some details.
"CYF Caseworkers as well as all County Caseworkers are vetted by PA Civil Service regarding initial application credentials. Applicants for CYF ( Since this is the topic) are interviewed by a the Assistant CYF Administrator and a "Committee" of managers and if selected, require FBI, SBI and Child Line clearances before they are offered a position. Once an applicant is hired as a County Caseworker, they are required to complete a basic training program prescribed by the State Office of Children, Youth, and Families through the U of Pitt and other sanctioning organizations to be certified. ALL County Caseworkers are on probation and AT WILL employees for a period of six months and are to be further vetted during that time. County Caseworkers are required to complete at least 20 hours of training each year to hold the certifications.
"After all of that, it's a crap shoot because County Administration has a dubious policy of standing shoulder to shoulder with local managers and supervisors no matter how bad, and that policy is entirely unacceptable. Every administration is briefed by appropriate people and this one was too. The cases that Mr. O'Hare references in his blog ought to be reviewed for the purpose of ensuring that each and every child involved has been accounted for.
"Further, Human Resources should be part of any interviews for promotions and this Executive needs to act on behalf of the Public AND the good people that are trying to perform their duties by the professional standards that important posts require. These County Caseworkers require proper support and have laid down an offer of proof that is irrefutable. We haven't seen any meaningful changes beyond that. No one can predict anything like what happened to these children from walking through those doors. But it's not the only one over the course of a few years. Right? - Max Quadd"