Theo Liebmann, Clinical Professor, Attorney-In-Charge of the Hofstra Child Advocacy Clinic and Director of the Clinical Programs, was quoted in the following Newsday article.
Officials report record number of child abuse cases
By Michael Amon
February 11, 2009
The percentage of allegations where investigators found credible evidence of child abuse or neglect in both counties remained roughly the same from 2007 to 2008 – 27 percent in Nassau and 31 percent in Suffolk.
Nassau and Suffolk police said there were not more criminal cases of abuse last year.
Child-welfare experts said caseworkers with high workloads can miss signs of abuse and neglect. Without mentioning workloads, a state report released this week on the Brewer case said the woman’s parenting problems were repeatedly given too low a priority by caseworkers.
“Now, the system is far more overloaded, so the chances of the same thing happening again are greater than ever,” said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va., referring to the Brewer case.
Theo Liebmann, director of the Child Advocacy Center at Hofstra University Law School, said heavy workloads have taken a toll on workers dealing with children he represents. “What you mostly see are caseworkers who are so overwhelmed that they can’t follow up on referrals they give to families,” Liebmann said.
Long Island agencies say they’ve hired new caseworkers – about 30 in Nassau and three in Suffolk – and shifted around staff to cope with the spike.