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Contact: Jennifer Struss, (360) 902-0265
Contact: Mindy Chambers, mindy.chambers@dshs.wa.gov
January 13, 2014
Report shows drop in CPS open case backlog

OLYMPIA - Several areas of child safety have significantly progressed, according to a report released today by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds.

"Diligence, focus and hard work has halved the number of CPS investigations that remain open for more than 90 days," said Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary for DSHS Children’s Administration. Those cases dropped from 29 percent in January 2013 to 13 percent by the end of November 2013.

The report also shows a decrease in the number of child fatalities requiring review by the Ombuds Office. In 2012, the Office reviewed 42 child fatality cases – a 28 percent decrease from 2011 and the lowest number of reviews since 2004. The cases involved child abuse or neglect and cases unrelated to child maltreatment. The Ombuds Office and the Department review child fatalities when Children's Administration has history with the family within the preceding 12 months.

"I thank Governor Inslee and the Legislature for providing the extra resources necessary to reduce the backlog," Strus said. "Additionally, the caring and devotion my co-workers bring to their jobs each day and their eagerness to participate in improving the way we do business is key to keeping safe kids who require our services.

The Legislature created the Ombuds Office in 1996 to provide independent oversight of facets of the child welfare system. Strus expressed her appreciation for the work of the Office and for sharing DSHS’ and communities' commitment to child safety.

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