”Overview”

Every child deserves to live in an environment that is both safe and secure. To help
ensure that Hawaii’s children are given this opportunity, the Department of Human
Services, through its Child Welfare Services Branch, provides protection to
children at risk of abuse or neglect. A number of issues affecting the Department
of Human Services’ ability to achieve this responsibility have been raised in the
past. In January 1999, our office released an Audit of the Child Protective Services
System (Report No. 99-5) criticizing the department’s communication and decision-making
processes, which could ultimately affect the children’s safety and well-being.
These issues are so paramount that it prompted us to conduct this follow-up
audit to ascertain the department’s efforts to address the findings and
recommendations of our 1999 audit. Despite the department’s efforts to improve
overall delivery of child protective services, significant problems persist and there
is no evidence that children are better off today than they were four years ago.

In our current audit of the child protective services system, we found that many of
the deficiencies revealed in our 1999 audit continue today. The crux of these
problems stem from a lack or disregard of department management controls. We
found that supervisory oversight and review

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