A legislative audit of the state's Bureau for Children and Families reports that it is "common knowledge that the state's Child Protective Services has not been able to investigate child abuse allegations in a timely manner" as required by law.
As reported by the Daily Mail's Candace Nelson, the audit described a lack of urgency in investigating child abuse cases, an inefficient system for receiving child abuse and neglect reports, and no analysis of cases that could show what was learned from each abuse situation.
In 2011, CPS met the legal timeline for investigating reports of abuse and neglect just 48 percent of the time.
That's just one of the conclusions of the audit.
To be sure, pay rates for Bureau employees are notoriously low. But new hires know going in how much they'll make. A turnover rate of more than 50 percent indicates potentially serious and systemic problems within the agency.
The audit said a state-wide, centralized intake process would require only about half of the 120 workers involved in the intake process today, freeing up the other half to investigate complaints.
Yet the Bureau has studied the idea of centralizing its intake system for more than six years without taking action, the audit says.
For goodness sakes, how long must systemic problems go on before something is done?
Surely the Bureau for Children and Families has many dedicated and qualified employees working hard to protect children in West Virginia. But systemic problems like gross inefficiency, inadequate management systems and low pay are holding them back and endangering the lives of abused and neglected children in West Virginia.
It's time for the governor's office and the Legislature to conduct a major shake up of this agency and demand accountability and improvements fast.