Daniel Levler, president of the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees,...

Daniel Levler, president of the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees, speaks about the issues facing the country's Child Protective Services caseworkers following the death of Thomas Valva at AME headquarters in Bohemia on Thursday. Credit: Randee Daddona

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.