LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There are more troubles for the embattled Luzerne County Children and Youth Services. The state has now downgraded the agency’s license to provisional.
This comes just months after the former director of C.Y.S. was charged with ordering staff to erase reports of child abuse and neglect from its records in May of 2017.
It means that Luzerne County C.Y.S. is now under the microscope of the state and in a worse-case scenario, it can possibly lose its license and the state could take over.
Luzerne County Children and Youth Services is now operating on what’s called a ‘provisional license. It must follow an action plan handed down by the state Department of Human Services to correct what’s described as a deficiency in how the agency is operated and how child abuse reports and handled.
“I wasn’t sure I believed the agency had turned the corner moving forward and meeting state requirements and regulations. But the state thought it was important to issue a provisional license and we are taking that very seriously,” Acting Luzerne County Manager Romilda Crocamo said.
Luzerne County C.Y.S. has been under fire for its handling or mishandling of child abuse complaints. The county even hired a law firm to investigate the operations of the agency and make recommendations to improve its operations.
“What it means is the state will be giving a correction plan. They will be monitoring our compliance with that plan for the next six months. It does not mean the state will be coming in essentially running Children and Youth Services,” Crocamo said.
Luzerne County Council Chairman Tim McGinley insisted that C.Y.S. is making progress in improving its operations.
“I was hopeful that they would work with us a little more closely so we can straighten out any issues that have to be straightened out there so we can move forward,” McGinley said.
State Representative Aaron Kaufer says the children of the county have to be the primary focus of this process.
“We need to make sure our kids are safe, need to make sure we are following the right protocols and we weren’t doing that,” Kaufer said.
And Acting County Manager Crocamo insists that is exactly the focus of county officials. The county has six months to get its act together or it could see the state move in an operate the agency.
That would indeed be a rare occurrence but the county has had its license downgraded before, back in 2015, after its mishandling of a case that involved the death of a child.
Its license was restored in 2017. You can see the entire DHS report here.