York County Office of Children, Youth, and Families receives a thumbs up from the state

YORK, Pa. -- There is renewed confidence at the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families, as the agency receives a new certificate of compliance.

Tuesday, Children, Youth and Families was on its fourth and final provisional license, and at risk of being taken over by the state.

Many of the people who work at the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families gathered on the courthouse steps Friday morning, along with state and county officials to show their support and dedication to getting the agency back on track.

As its fourth and final downgraded license expired, the York County Office of Children, Youth, and Families was out of second chances, until now.

Children, Youth and Families director Terry Clark said "had this last review not gone so well, it would have resulted in the agency being taken over by the state."

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services was critical of the agency's actions, and cited it for numerous violations throughout the past two years.

"How we were accessing the safety of children, how quickly we were responding to reports and referrals that were coming in to the agency, whether or not we were notifying parents according to the regulatory requirements of what our agency was doing," Clark said.

After making changes to fix those problems, the state issued a new certificate of compliance, giving renewed hope for the York County agency dedicated to protecting children from abuse.

State Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill (93rd legislative district) said "the York County House delegation looks forward to continuing our work, with Terry Clark, the commissioners, to continue to make sure that they meet the progress that we need to make for our children, our families and our community."

Children, Youth, and Families consultant Bev Mackereth said "it's been a job well done by the entire agency, by the county, people partnered together to help, make this work."

"I think hearing their work has been noticed, and that they are no longer on that provisional license makes a huge difference in morale," Mackereth said.

It's what makes the certificate more than just a piece of paper.

"Abuse and neglect affect every community, every township, every borough, every socioeconomic status, every race. This is really a problem for our entire York County community," Phillips-Hill said.

"For the kids of York County, I think this means they should have confidence in our agency, and our workers, that they're doing the best that they can, with what they have and they take their job seriously every day,"Clark said.

Clark said since he started, the agency has added 12 additional staff members to help better meet the needs of the children in our community.

Restoring the York County office of Children, Youth, and Families was a two-year process of meeting with state officials every other month.

"They're reviewing case files. They're interviewing staff. They're talking to us about what they're finding, working with us to make the corrections and changes, helping us to critically think about the decisions that we make every day, when we're accessing the risk and safety of children," Clark said.

A new certificate of compliance is also another chance to do things differently at the York County Office of Children, Youth, and Families.

"Better oversight, better monitoring of what's going on, doing a lot more of our own internal quality reviews to look at things, our own self so that we can kind of be proactive about it," Clark said.

"Even though I know we still have a long road ahead, and more work to do, it was one of the best feelings I've had in a long time," Clark added."