The new year brought new laws, and one deserving notice is a minor change at the Department of Human Services.
Although voters approved major changes in the agency’s administration in November, a law that took effect Jan. 1 modified how the agency investigates child abuse.
In the past, DHS standards for investigating alleged abuse in foster homes or state-owned shelters weren’t as stringent as in cases where parents or caretakers were accused of abusing children in private settings. That inconsistency was cited in a recent class-action lawsuit that ultimately led to last year’s DHS reforms.
Abuse should be thoroughly investigated wherever it occurs. If anything, standards for children in state custody should be higher, not lower, so this is welcome change. Too bad it took a lawsuit to make it happen.