The Denver Post
Auditor praises nonprofit
Auditor: Staffers’ records lacking
More than half of Denver child-welfare caseworkers could not prove they had passed required background checks during a recent review, the city auditor said Thursday.
Of the 60 caseworkers and supervisors whose paperwork was requested, 57 percent had missing or incomplete documentation regarding background checks.
Caseworkers, who investigate reports of child abuse and neglect, are required to pass background checks that scour state and local court records, driving records and previous involvement with the child-welfare system.
“Those who protect our smallest citizens and our aging loved ones must be held to high standards, and that includes proof of background checks,” City Auditor Timothy O’Brien said in a news release announcing the findings.
Human Services director Don Mares said he’s confident all caseworkers have passed background checks and that the department is addressing documentation issues.
“We take our charge as a child welfare agency to help kids impacted by abuse and neglect and to strengthen families very seriously and welcome these recommendations. That starts by increasing transparency and access to our work,” Mares said in a statement. “We agree with all the findings and recommendations of the audit.”
Auditors also found problems with a policy to automatically investigate allegations involving children under age 5 if the family has been the subject of two prior abuse or neglect calls within the previous 14 months. “The policy has not been adequately implemented due to poor policy development and staff training,” the auditor said.
Human services officials agreed to the auditor’s recommendations and have plans to improve background check documentation and staff training. The department began using a contractor in 2016 to meet background check requirements.