More than 100 child abuse investigators could fall victim to the budgetary ax next year, according to a proposal being considered by City Hall.
Mayor Bloomberg vowed to overhaul the troubled Administration for Children's Services in 2006 after the fatal beating of Nixzmary Brown, the 7-year-old who became a sad emblem of the broken child welfare system. But as he grapples with projections of ever-growing budget gaps for next year, Bloomberg said "everything is on the table."
That includes the ACS's latest proposal to cut 100 frontline jobs in child protective services, a move which could 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."
The ACS cuts are now being reviewed by the mayor's Office of Management and Budget. Bloomberg is expected to present his proposed fiscal 2010 budget on May 1.
By hiring more caseworkers at ACS, the Bloomberg administration was able to reduce child abuse investigators' caseloads to manageable 12 cases 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.