October 22, 2021

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Erie County Council approves approach to fulfill state mandate

 ALBION —For Erie County resident Britni Burlingham, safeguarding kids from abuse is like remaining “on a sinking ship.”

Overburdened by an alarming range of referrals, Burlingham, a situation worker for the Erie County Business of Youngsters & Youth, describes how the understaffed company struggles to tackle an growing workload, and how the small children of the neighborhood are possible to undergo as a outcome. 

Officials:Erie County OCY requires 29 hires to satisfy new point out mandate

“We’re juggling all of these balls and (if we) drop a ball, it could lead to a boy or girl fatality,” said Burlingham, noting that each and every scenario worker at the Erie office shoulders about 18 separate conditions. “We never have the manpower to make guaranteed we’re undertaking quality work.”

That, even so, is about to change. 

In a unanimous vote, County Council voted Tuesday to extend the workforce of the Erie County OCY. The conclusion permits the agency to employ 29 new personnel — mostly caseworkers and supervisors — to fulfill a statewide mandate to concentrate additional on decrease-stage kid protective situations before they escalate. 

Lana Rees, director of the Erie County Office of Children & Youth, supported an increase to her staff to meet a statewide demand to focus more on lower-level child protective cases.

Workplace of Kids & Youth Govt Director Lana Rees, who spoke at Tuesday’s council meeting in Albion, said the objective was prevention. 

“What we definitely want to do is to start off when the complications are at a lesser scale, when factors are preventable, so that we can make confident those little ones don’t have to go by means of traumatic experiences — get abused, neglected or taken absent from their parents,” Rees reported. “The 29 positions that we have asked for will assistance us transfer in that direction.”