THE response by the average, reasonably intelligent tax-paying citizen to the legislative audit of the state's Bureau for Children and Families might be: "Well, duh!"
Of course the agency should create a culture that promotes safety and security for its workers. Of course it should provide for employee self-defense training and education.
Employees of the agency, who might have to enter a client's home at any hour to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, should be able to carry defensive devices such as pepper spray to protect against vicious dogs and vicious persons. Employees should have a procedure and a device to be able to call for help in emergency situations.
These are among the conclusions reported by analyst Gail Higgins of the Legislative Auditor's office.
"[Child Protective Services] workers have few protections when they leave the office," Higgins told lawmakers during a legislative interim session Tuesday.
As reported by Daily Mail Capitol Reporter Zack Harold, Higgins said CPS workers never know if the people they are visiting will be intoxicated, violent or mentally ill, creating an unpredictable and often unsafe work environment.
This is the second time the Legislative Auditor's office has reported to lawmakers about conditions at CPS.
In August, the auditors reported that the agency met its legal timeline for investigating reports of abuse and neglect in just 48 percent of its cases, had an exceptionally high turnover rate, especially among trainees, and did not review, analyze or even report child fatalities.