CHAPTER 169

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 113

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF SERVICES FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH AND THEIR FAMILIES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

WHEREAS, the Division of Family Services’ frontline caseworkers provide direct services to Delaware’s abused, neglected and dependent children and their families in an effort to remedy those issues, and provide support to strengthen these families;

WHEREAS, as a result of several child abuse deaths in the late 1990s, Delaware’s General Assembly implemented statutory caseload standards for DFS workers;

WHEREAS, Governor Minner’s Executive Order No. 7 directed child safety as the first priority of the Delaware Children’s Department;

WHEREAS, since those standards were implemented, DFS has been impacted by countless federal and state mandates which have focused on increasing safety, permanency and well-being for Delaware’s children, but which have significantly increased the workloads and responsibilities of DFS frontline workers;

WHEREAS, four reviews of Delaware child death and near death cases since December of 2004 have cited caseloads/workloads as a contributing factor to the child’s death or near death;

WHEREAS, the Child Protection Accountability Commission (CPAC) once again created a subcommittee to study this issue which has resulted in a comprehensive report recommending statutory caseload reductions;

WHEREAS, CPAC concluded that workers have approximately 89 hours per month to provide direct services to Delaware’s children and families;

WHEREAS, CPAC concluded that DFS investigation workers need a minimum of 8.4 hours per month to work each investigation;

WHEREAS, under current DFS statutory requirements of 14 cases per investigation worker, DFS investigation workers need 117.6 hours per month to handle the workload of 14 cases and have only 89 hours, resulting in children being left at serious risk, thereby requiring investigation caseloads to be reduced to 11 cases per investigation worker; and

WHEREAS, under current DFS statutory requirements of 18 cases per treatment worker, DFS treatment workers need 149.6 hours per month to provide treatment services to 18 families and have only 89 hours, resulting in children being left at serious risk, thereby requiring treatment caseloads to be reduced to 12 cases per treatment worker;

NOW THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Section 9015(b)(1) of Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking the number “14” and inserting the number “11” in its place.

Approved July 24, 2007