The Department of Child Services wants legislators to change some of the laws that govern the child welfare agency.
Lawmakers debated those proposed changes in a study committee Wednesday.
Current law requires DCS caseworkers to respond within one hour if a child is in imminent danger. DCS told lawmakers it wants it raised to four hours. Associate director Todd Meyer says the current limit is too restrictive.
“These are the rules and regulations that the federal government hold us to and when we are not able to comply … it puts our agency in jeopardy of losing funding,” Meyer says.
Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) says if compliance is an issue, DCS should follow the lead of other states and make the statute less specific.
“Just say they will take action immediately," Houchin says. "I think that may give some comfort level to those of us who have some concerns about leaving a long period of time.”
DCS also wants to change state law so poverty is not the sole factor in whether a parent or guardian is neglectful.