Capitolwire: Governor Wolf’s child welfare budget proposals draw notice.

The Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, an advocacy group, suggests the above proposed targeted investments can support children and families in the long term after one-time federal COVID-19 pandemic stimulus funds are gone.

“We are supportive of the $149 million increase for county welfare agencies, and the creation of the crisis response team to increase county support for children with complex needs because investing in the child care workforce is an investment in the children, youth, and families they serve,” said Partnerships CEO Kari King.

The extra funds will go to support agency staff as well as programming and operations costs, she added.

“We know this field experienced high turnover, even before the pandemic – creating long-term consequences in practice, policy and county budgets,” said King.

The number of alleged child abuse cases in Pennsylvania was nearly 33,000 in 2020, a 22 percent drop from the year before, while the percentage of allegations that were substantiated was 14 percent in 2020, a five-year high, according the Partnerships’ State of the Child Report for 2021.

The report’s findings are rooted in the pandemic experience where teachers and physicians and other mandated reporters under state law came into less contact with children while social tensions increased during lockdowns and other restrictions, the report said.

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