Acting Attorney General Peter J. Nickles and Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) say the District's Child and Family Services Agency needs an influx of social workers and funds to help get the caseloads under control.
In the wake of the resignation of its director, Sharlynn E. Bobo on Wednesday, Nickles said the city will temporarily move social workers from other agencies to CFSA, and Wells, a former social worker himself, pledged to get the agency as much funding as it needs to get on top of the problem.
Wells held a hearing Monday to address the backlog and to get answers to how a 6-month-old boy who had been the subject of a report of neglect ended up dead. Later that same day, a 5-month-old boy was reported dead. He and his teenage mother had been seen by a social worker who had taken several steps to get the family medical care as well as proper sleeping arrangements for the child, Bobo said.
In this recent crisis of CFSA, Wells must get the kudos for having sounded the alarm. Wells immediately moved to call a hearing about the 6-month-old's death and the backlog. He acted with a welcomed sense of urgency, the way one hopes elected officials will respond when they see signs of trouble.
Nickles has pledged that the city will get the caseloads under control by Labor Day. The challenge, of course, will be how fast CFSA is able to train those workers. Just like police and firefighters and others who deal with crisis situations, socials workers are intervening when children and family are in distress.