Panelists tell three stories about a puzzle that made headlines — only one of which is true.
Former CPS Employees Speak Out
Five former administrators at the state’s child protective agency said Wednesday they were wrongfully terminated. They were fired in late April for their alleged role in leaving thousands of child abuse and neglect cases ignored.
It was an emotional press conference, as the former CPS managers said they were not at fault for leaving more than 6,000 child abuse and neglect cases uninvestigated.
“We really didn’t do anything wrong,” Jana Lieneweber said. “Our staff, our workers, do anywhere from five to eight reports a week, per worker. You can’t go out and do those investigations with that number of reports you have to investigate. It’s not possible. And there’s no funding.”
The five women said they were not given enough resources to run the agency. But the director of the state’s new child welfare agency, Charles Flanagan, has said they ignored policy and failed to do their jobs. The department did not respond to requests for further comment.
Apparently, thousands of cases were marked “NI” for “not investigated” because they were never assigned to CPS caseworkers. The five women said workers were already overwhelmed with cases.
These firings were the first major personnel action since the cases were discovered in the fall.
The employees’ attorney, Terry Woods, said the state government is using the women as scapegoats.
“This smacks of a coverup,” Woods said. “I am contemplating, on behalf of these ladies, a wrongful termination suit.”
Woods said he wants the employees to get jobs in other areas of state government.
They were put on paid administrative leave in December and were told not to speak to the media. Their positions were officially terminated on April 24.