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Proposed Child Welfare Cuts Would Endanger Already Abused Children

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Abused and neglected children in San Diego County and the state will have to wait longer before they are removed from their homes under Governor Schwarzenegger's budget proposal.

— Abused and neglected children in San Diego County and the state will have to wait longer before they are removed from their homes under Governor Schwarzenegger's budget proposal.

The governor's plan to cut tens of millions of dollars from child welfare services to close a $20 billion deficit means heavier caseloads for county social workers. As a result, there will be delays in social workers responding to child abuse reports.

The proposed cuts come just weeks after foster child Cacey Paul told state lawmakers she feared what budget reductions would mean for her siblings.

"If you take away the support system, my brothers and sisters that currently, safely got away from home will have to go back to that and I can't handle thinking they're going to go back and be stuck with really abusive parents," she said.

Last week, San Diego County officials said they're seeing more severe injuries among child abuse victims, including head injuries, rib fractures and broken legs and arms in children under the age of one. They're also seeing more severe neglect. Children are underfed and they're illnesses are going untreated.

Frank Mecca, with the County Welfare Directors Association said the state is perpetrating abuse by underfunding services they know these children need. "It's shameful. It's a level of care and protection that no parent would accept for their own children," he said.

The county receives about 70,000 reports of child abuse each year.

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