- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - A southwest Ohio child welfare agency outlined sweeping plans Friday to improve its operations in the aftermath of the death of a 2-year-old girl authorities say was starved and abused repeatedly.

Hamilton County’s Job and Family Services will increase training, reduce caseloads and conduct more extensive family assessments, officials said.

The measures follow an internal review of the case of Glenara Bates, who weighed 13 pounds when she died March 29 of starvation and blunt-force injury. Two workers assigned to her case have resigned, two managers were suspended for a week and other workers have since left the agency. An independent investigation is continuing.

Job and Family Services Director Moira Weir said job turnover at the agency was 40 percent among caseworkers last year and the agency will work to reduce that rate. She said child welfare workers on the front line have a demanding job - “It’s emotionally draining” - and she acknowledged the agency struggles with turnover.

County Commissioner Greg Hartmann said also it’s important to reduce wait times for treatment for parents with mental health and substance abuse issues. He said he will work with the agency on funding and resource needs and will seek more community discussion on appropriate staffing levels.

The girl’s parents have pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated murder.

Her death was the second this year of a child with whom the agency had been involved.

“We’ve had these two tragedies just recently,” Prosecutor Joe Deters said, adding that he hopes the agency’s response will be effective in improving its operations.

A county grand jury Thursday indicted two people on charges stemming from the recent death of a third child, a 6-year-old whose death has been ruled a homicide. Authorities said Friday that Hamilton County Job and Family Services wasn’t involved in that case.


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