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County Legislature approves hiring of more child protection caseworkers

Chris Caya/WBFO news

Erie County legislators Thursday cleared the way for seven more caseworkers for the overloaded Child Protective Services division in the wake of the death of a child allegedly killed by his mother's boyfriend.

Legislators also approved the creation of three top administrative positions in the Social Services Department.

Legislature Republicans tried instead to create three more new caseworkers while dropping the management posts.  Their effort failed. 

Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer says the hiring process will start immediately.

"We're looking for qualified caseworkers," Dankert-Maurer said.  "The state has already agreed to provide expedited training.  Our goal is to get these people out there as quickly as we can."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says he's ordered full cooperation with the State Office of Child and Family Services which is probing CPS, as is the county.

Last year, five CPS staff and caseworkers were fired after a probe of the handling of the case of the murder of Abdi Mohamud at the hands of his stepfather.