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D.C. child welfare agency lays off 10 employees

Correction: Earlier versions of this article incorrectly stated that three of the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency workers fired in the wake of the Banita Jacks case were recently reinstated. Three workers were eligible to return to the agency, but only two elected to do so. This version has been corrected.

The D.C. Child and Family Services Agency laid off 10 workers Tuesday to address budget shortfalls, according to a memo distributed to its staff.

Mindy Good, a spokeswoman for the agency, declined to say what type of positions were being affected. She said the cuts would not affect social workers’ caseloads and were not determined by performance.

“This was not about individuals,” Good said. “It’s about function, not about people.”

CFSA’s budget will shrink from $270 million in this fiscal year to $265 million in the 2012 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

“This reduction in force did not single out individuals but required making very hard choices about functions to eliminate and/or consolidate so CFSA can stay within budget without disrupting core services to children and families,” interim Director Debra Portia-Usher wrote.

In the memo, Portia-Usher said she does not expect additional staffing cuts. “As far as we know, this is the only personnel action associated with our FY12 budget,” she wrote.

Although more stable than it was several years ago, CFSA remains a troubled agency, operating under the supervision of the federal courts.

Earlier this year, the court monitor in the case raised questions about the agency’s progress, and in May, Director Roque Gerald resigned.

Gerald had taken over the agency in 2008 after four children were killed by their mother, Banita Jacks, in Southeast. The deaths set off months of upheaval at CFSA, including the firing of six workers by then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). Three of those employees recently became eligible to return to the agency, but only two elected to do so.

In May 2010, more than 100 employees were laid off.

The court monitor, Judith W. Meltzer, said Tuesday that she was still reviewing the implications of the layoffs.

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