County to add child protection staff

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Mower County board approved one additional full-time employee Tuesday to work on child protection cases in the area.

The county board voted to increase Health and Human Service’s staff by 1.52 full-time employees during its public meeting Tuesday morning. That means a vacant part-time position will turn into a full-time job, and the county will add one more employee over the next few months.

“We have been massively understaffed when it comes to child protection cases all across the state,” Community Health Director Lisa Kocer said.

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Mower County is set to receive $185,000 — enough for about two and half employees — each of the next three years to dedicate to child protection after the changes proposed by a task force passed the legislature.

The changes stem from a Gov. Mark Dayton-appointed task force that made 100 recommendations about ways to change and improve child protection after the death of 4-year-old Eric Dean, which happened after the warnings of day care workers went unheeded.

The new staff will likely get trained in and start next spring, at which point the board will review whether to spend remaining funding on training or another employee.