As Suffolk County grapples with the tragic death of Thomas Valva, a collective sense of outrage in our public discourse is understandable. No one shares that outrage more than the men and women in Suffolk County who oversee 8,000-10,000 cases each year involving our most vulnerable population, Child Protective Services caseworkers.
It takes a courageous person to sign up for the job of a CPS caseworker. CPS caseworkers handle all cases in their care with full attention and professionalism but, no case is routine.
Appropriate staffing levels and manageable caseloads are important but not a perfect fix. Suffolk AME has worked to secure funding in Suffolk County’s budget, which raised staffing levels in CPS.
On a statewide level, caseworkers should get expanded authority under the Public Officers’ Law.
I urge lawmakers, our communities, and the public to join our efforts to improve our family services system and support our caseworkers. Let’s make New York a role model for the nation and let’s start by putting the needs of our most vulnerable population first.
Daniel C. Levler,
Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees.