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Letter: Pass bill to help keep CPS caseworkers safe

Pass bill to help keep CPS caseworkers safe

After a report is made alleging child abuse or neglect, Child Protective Services caseworkers are required to investigate the allegation. If evidence of abuse or neglect is found, and the removal of a child from the family is necessary, the caseworker often faces aggressive behavior from the child’s parents. CPS caseworkers are frequently threatened, harassed and intimidated for doing their job. In other parts of the nation, CPS caseworkers have even been murdered.

Under current law, CPS caseworkers cannot be granted an order of protection in Family Court, only in criminal court. The result is CPS caseworkers, who are being threatened, harassed or otherwise intimidated, remain vulnerable while they unnecessarily wait to go before a criminal court judge.

There is currently legislation before the State Legislature (S2115/A168) that amends the Family Court Act to expand orders of protection to CPS caseworkers. This would allow Family Court judges, who are already presiding over a case involving the CPS caseworker and the parent, to issue an order of protection for the caseworker. As the bill states, “By allowing Family Court judges to issue orders of protection for CPS caseworkers, this bill will provide the protection caseworkers deserve as they work to protect New York State’s vulnerable children.”

The job of a CPS caseworker is commonly a thankless one. Caseworkers are our neighbors, working to keep the children of our community safe from abuse, maltreatment and neglect. They deserve the right to carry out the responsibilities of their work free from fear.

Christopher P. Anderson

Administrative Director, Child Protective Services, Erie County Department of Social Services

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