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Praise of DHR follows hard work

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster Managing editor
By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER Managing editor
The director of the Escambia County Department of Human Resources (DHR) said a federal official's recent praise of the state's child welfare system validates the hard work that produced the tremendous improvements that have been made, a news release said.
During a quarterly meeting held in Montgomery on March 29, Fontaine added that other states were interested in the dramatic improvements that have been made in Alabama's child welfare system.
According to Barnes, several systems including foster data and billing data, were disjointed, meaning information was formerly kept in separately. The staff has been working hard to meet federal mandates in order to get the department on one system in an effort to become more efficient.
Barnes noted that there are 32 merit staff members and 42 additional contract staff housed in the department in Brewton.
According to the news release, Fontaine told DHR State Board members that assuming the state's revised implementation plan is approved, the agency will not be in jeopardy of losing federal funding for its child welfare system.
More than 40 states, which includes Alabama, are currently working to bring their child welfare systems into compliance with federal regulations.
Fontaine said HHS was pleased with the progress that Alabama is making in meeting the requirements.