RALEIGH, N.C. — After five months of studying the issue, state lawmakers released recommendations Wednesday about how to improve child welfare in North Carolina.
A committee appointed by the state Legislature suggested more information sharing between social service agencies, along with lower caseloads, more training and better pay.
"If the state is going to intervene in families, it has a responsibility to do a good job when it does so," said Warren Ludwig, director of child welfare for Wake County. "You need adequate staffing because if you're juggling too many cases, the chances that you'll fail to protect a child in danger or that you'll disrupt a family when a child is safe get higher.
The group is recommending a total of six bills at a cost of nearly $20 million. The bulk of the money, $15 million, would pay for more child care subsidies for low-income working parents.
More than 20,000 families across the state are on waiting lists to receive help with child care. The rest of the money would pay for the shared computer system, social worker training and a paid position for the Child Fatality Task Force.