GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Brown County’s Child Protective Services may soon be adding much needed staff. As Kris Schuller reports additional funding from the state- will ensure abused children get the help they need.
When it comes to dealing with child neglect in Brown County staff in Child Protective Services is on the frontline facing an ever growing issue.
“We have caseloads that are increasing, we have staff members who are being burnt out,” said County Executive Troy Streckenbach.
“We screen an average of 400 protective child services each month and we actually assess just over 130 reports each month,” said Brown County Health and Human Services Director Erik Pritzl.
It’s a state-mandated program that the county has tried to sufficiently fund with mixed results.
“There was a 131 percent increase in the Brown County levy in child welfare between 2011 and 2018,” Pritzl said.
But now thanks to funding within the state’s biennial budget the county is receiving $1.2 million more per year to protect kids – funding Streckenbach hopes to use in his 2020 budget to make real change.
“Our state legislators identified that counties had done as much as they could and decided to find a way to help,” Pritzl said.
Streckenbach is proposing to use the money to fund 14 new positions in Child Protective Services; hiring caseworkers, supervisors and support staff to keep kids safe. .
“We’re hoping this brings relief, brings those caseloads down to a manageable level,” Streckenbach said.
In addition he’s re-convening a Child Death Review team to help identify trends and will reach out to the public to gather community input.
“This is the most significant investment I’ve seen in child welfare in my career,” said Pritzl.
Proactive steps to protect young lives – now heading to the County Board for review in November.
Pritzl says substance use is a primary factor in many child abuse and neglect cases.