Erie County Child Protective Services Employee Now Stationed at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo

Updated: 3/25/2014
A Child Protective Services (CPS) employee is now stationed at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo in order to better investigate allegations of abuse and neglect that originate from the facility, which in turn will provide faster access for the staff to CPS expertise while streamlining and expediting the investigation process.

Under the agreement between Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, Erie County Commissioner of Social Services, Carol Dankert-Maurer, and Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the hospital will provide space, furniture and equipment for the CPS employees at no cost to Erie County taxpayers. The CPS worker will be on-site Monday through Friday during normal business hours, providing real-time access to CPS expertise for staff after a report has been made to the State Child Abuse Hotline and a case number has been issued.

Dr. Paula Mazur, emergency room physician at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo and associate professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Child Abuse Pediatrics, University of Buffalo said, “The addition of a child protection worker to our staff at the Women & Children’s Hospital is testament to Erie County’s commitment to the safety and well-being of our children in Western New York. Close collaboration between CPS and Children’s Hospital is the key to a successful outcome of a child abuse investigation.”

Case workers will be employees of Erie County limited to working on referred reports of abuse and neglect stemming from cases occurring in the county, and cannot assist in cases with reports not assigned to Erie County. The Erie County Department of Social Services will provide an emergency contact for situations when the CPS worker is not on site, and will ensure that all applicable screening processes for each healthcare partner are completed satisfactory by the assigned CPS worker.

“Society has a duty to protect all children. Every child deserves to grow and thrive in an environment free from trauma so that their development starting from birth can be nurtured to the fullest. Having a CPS worker dedicated to Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo will strengthen the relationship between physicians, the healthcare community and CPS by providing for an intense collaborative relationship where critical information can be shared confidentially,” added Dr. Stephen Turkovich, pediatric hospitalist, quality & patient safety medical officer, and co-medical director, Newborn Nursery, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and assistant professor of Clinical Pediatrics, University of Buffalo.

The new agreement with Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo is the latest step on a continuum as Erie County continues to work to better protect children and families and follows a number of ways the county has acted in recent months to proactively address the issue of child abuse in the community. A reorganization of the Department of Social Services that included hiring more CPS workers took place in 2013 and increased the focus on protecting children. The department has also improved its child protection training, revamped its quality-control procedures and equipped its employees with enhanced technology. Additionally, an agreement in 2013 with Say Yes Buffalo and other partners placed social services’ and mental health staff in Buffalo Public Schools to make vital services more easily available to students and families.

“Everyone in our community has an important role to play in protecting our children. With these agreements, my administration is expanding that protection through new partnerships with those who are often the first responders to cases of abuse,” said Poloncarz. “Medical providers are an invaluable community partner in this endeavor, as they are often the first to suspect a child may be injured due to abuse or neglect. By joining Erie County in this critical collaboration, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo is reaffirming their strong commitment to families in our community.”

Please click the following link in order to read the related article in the Buffalo news: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/erie-county/cps-workers-to-monitor-child-abuse-cases-at-two-hospitals-20140210

Additional information available: http://www.kaleidahealth.org/kyi/news/?i=4484