A report that found problems in the county's services to children--from foster care and adoptions to child abuse investigations--was referred to the county's chief administrator Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.
The report, a five-month effort of the county Public Welfare Advisory Board, put the blame for the problems on a shortage of funding and changes in state law that have prompted more child abuse reports and made it more difficult for authorities to remove children from troubled families.
The board ordered Chief Administrator Norman Hickey to return in 60 days with his response to more than 125 recommendations for improvement.
Among the suggestions is appointing an independent ombudsman to review complaints about the handling of children's cases, a task the Department of Social Services now performs.
Other recommendations include increased training for social workers, lighter caseloads, more clerical help, improved computerization and policy revisions.