York County welfare agency receives third downgraded license

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YORK, Pa. -- York County's Office of Children, Youth and Families received its third consecutive downgraded license from the Department of Human Services.

Now, the agency potentially faces a state takeover.

The department came to its decision after an inspection in October 2015.

According to their report, there were repeated violations related to the completion of safety and risk assessments, as well as timely responses to reports received. Another area of concern was lack of supervisory oversight.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said, "Certainly you don't want a provisional license to ever happen. Sometimes you can understand a mistake but when it gets to the third, I was concerned."

Carl Lindquist, a spokesperson with York County, said stricter child abuse laws that took effect last year are creating a challenge for the welfare agency.

This caused the agency's workload to increase by about 86 percent in referrals, which led to the need to hire additional staff.

DePasquale said, "That may also mean that the problem was happening for a long time and we just didn't know that it was that big of an issue. So in a way there could be a sign that hopefully we're gonna be actually confronting this tremendous challenge that's happening to our youth all over Pennsylvania."

The state auditor general said he's going to look into the issue.

"State funding does impact CYS across the state certainly in York County and we'll go in and do financial audit and we'll hopefully be able to find some areas where we can be helpful during the course of the audit," he said.

Dauphin County Children and Youth Services also received a downgraded license last year.

"If there is an issue that is systemic across the state and not just isolated in York and Dauphin which is highly possible, then it means that the legislature and the governor need to take more proactive steps to try to help these agencies," DePasquale said.

The department said they are working with the welfare agency and monitoring it through bi-weekly on-site visits. If the welfare agency isn't up to standards after a fourth downgraded license, it's possible the state will take it over.


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