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Comptroller says OCFS needs to improve protection of vulnerable children

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  • Staff Report 

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is calling on the state’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to improve its protection of vulnerable children.

In an audit released Tuesday, DiNapoli’s office found that the agency needs to significantly improve its reviews of incidents of child deaths from abuse.

The audit, which covers the years 2018 through 2021, found that OCFS is generally good at identifying deficiencies in child death investigations involving local departments of social services, but is lacking in getting improvement plans from them to prevent future issues.

“These are very difficult jobs, and really the audit provides recommendations that maybe, where the agency can use its data a little better to help the people who are doing these very difficult jobs,” said Tina Kim, the Deputy Comptroller for the Division of State Government Accountability. “Potentially focus on areas that are high-risk and make their jobs a little bit easier.”

The audit comes as Central New York deals with recent cases of children suffering in silence. In May 2021, 17-year-old Jordan Brooks, an Oswego County teen with cerebral palsy, died at just 55 pounds. His mother and stepfather are now charged with his murder.

The state claims that the county’s Department of Social Services failed to fully investigate claims of abuse before his death.