State of the Child Report
  View Video
Pennsylvania Auditor General called the State's Child Welfare system broken. People were talking about the fact that case workers have an incredibly difficult job. They deal with situations like children whose parents are in jail or on drugs but in recent years they've had to deal with other situations, including the fact they're having trouble keeping case workers around to do the job. "The things we see don't leave us when we go home at the end of the day. They are burned into our brain. That is what makes a caseworker's job so difficult." They see children in desperate situations and have to be ready for that. But Ashley Gehrdes said other things contribute, too. "We have tons of paperwork that also leads to the stress they're carrying home." That one of many things outlined in the Auditor General's State of the Child report. He called the system broken and found in 2016, 46 children died in Pennsylvania and 79 nearly died from abuse, all that even as the state spent nearly $2 billion in 2016 on child welfare. On Thursday, he talked to case workers. "That's one of the things I'm trying to work through, how can we put concrete solutions on the table." One of the biggest problems they're having is retention or just keeping people around. "It's tough to keep case workers in a stressful job and a low paying job, especially amid an expanded definition of child abuse after the Sandusky scandal. Some case workers have seen their case loads more than double." Depasqual said protecting children is one of the top jobs in the government and they need people like Gehrdes to stay around. "I love the family that I worked with, and I really think that makes positive changes. And I just hope that we can continue to make those changes." One of the big things that stuck out to the Auditor General is the toll that the Opioid epidemic has taken on case workers. For instance here in Blair County, they had to create a new position at the child welfare office, one that would exclusively deal with reports of infants that are addicted to Opiates when they were born.