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Department of Family Services gets much-needed grant

Reported by: Jerry Brown
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Updated: 2/20/2013 2:26 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- A $1.6 million state grant will help the troubled Clark County Department of Family Services.

Clark County commissioners unanimously approved the creation of 49 new, full-time permanent positions. Their largesse stimulated by a grant award to the department from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

“For us as a department this is going to make a significant difference in the services that we provide to children and families because it is going to give our staff a greater opportunity to spend more quality time with children and families,” said director Lisa Ruiz-Lee. “And at the end of the day, when it comes to achieving permanency for children, that's really what you have to have.”

The department has come under heavy criticism and faces a wrongful death lawsuit over its handling of the RJ Arrington case last year.

The county says the department did not respond to tips that the boy was abused after being alerted by Arrington's school. The boy's mother and stepfather face murder charges.

Ruiz-lee stated in testimony that case workers are currently stressed over huge case loads.

But Commissioner Steve Sisolak worried that a wholesale hiring rush could backfire -- jeopardizing the quality of attention received by local youths.

The commissioners expressed the need for smoother interaction between Family Services and the Clark County School District in identifying possible abuse victims.
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