100 ACS Workers Spared Budget Ax

City Hall has rejected a proposal to layoff more than 100 frontline child abuse investigators -- a plan floated, and then rejected, as Mayor Bloomberg tries to shore up an ever-widening budget gap.

Bloomberg is expected to present his proposed 2010 budget on May 1. 

Administration sources say Mayor Bloomberg decided not to include these caseworkers on the final layoff list, citing child protection as "one of Mayor Bloomberg's top priorities." 

However, there will be other budget cuts at the Administration for Children's Services, a troubled agency that's trying to right itself.

Bloomberg vowed to overhaul the ACS in 2006 after the fatal beating of Nixzmary Brown, the 7-year-old who became a sad emblem of the broken child welfare system. 

As he grappled with the growing budget gaps for next year, Bloomberg said "everything is on the table."

That had included the ACS's proposal to cut 100 frontline case worker jobs, a move which would boost social worker caseloads, increasing the chances that another child like Nixzmary Brown could slip through the cracks of an overloaded system.

"We have the commitment to keep caseloads down," Bloomberg told 4 New York in an exclusive interview. "We understand that we have an obligation to take care of those kids who are less fortunate and we're gonna have to find a ways to help them while also dealing with the budget realities."

By hiring more caseworkers at ACS, the Bloomberg administration was able to reduce child abuse investigators' caseloads to a manageable 12 per worker, according to administration figures. Before the move, some social workers carried as many as 30 cases. 

Earlier this month, the mayor presented his agencies with a mandate to cut costs by another four percent through the elimination of jobs. As many as 7,000 jobs could be eliminated in the cost-saving measure.

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