With DHS, slow progress is better than no progress
The appointment is further proof that Steele, R-Shawnee, who himself has been critical of DHS's handling of some child welfare cases in his district, is committed to effecting change at DHS before his time at the Legislature ends in 2012 due to term limits.
Meantime a new committee within the Human Services Commission is about to begin the work of reviewing child deaths. The committee, headed by new board member Wes Lane, will focus for now on the cases of 18 children who died of abuse or neglect since Jan. 1, 2010. These kids were either in DHS custody or officials with the agency had received complaints in the previous year that the children were being abused or neglected. Another 13 cases could be added to this initial list.
The committee hopes to determine whether policy and procedure changes are needed. “We want the public to be satisfied that we are at least doing everything humanly possible” to keep children safe, Lane said.
While tolerance for DHS failings is at its end, the fact specific steps are being taken is encouraging. Where the issue is protecting children, slow and steady progress is better than no progress at all.
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