By RAY HENRY
ATLANTA (AP) - Over the last decade, the federal government has withheld money from four states and Washington for the poor performance of their child protection systems.
The effectiveness of those federal reviews and the wisdom of penalizing cash-strapped child welfare agencies has been a matter of debate among experts in the field. That issue remerged in September when two child protection workers were arrested and accused of manipulating data so it would appear they were meeting internal guidelines related to the federal review process.
The U.S. Administration for Children and Families, which reviews state-run programs to determine how they serve children, have cost child welfare agencies nearly $11 million and counting in Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.