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Hearings will look into allegations DHHS supervisors fudged caseload numbers

State lawmakers say they will look into reports the Michigan agency that handles child abuse and neglect cases fudged its numbers to make it appear it was complying with a court order.

The Lansing State Journal reports the House and Senate oversight committees are preparing for hearings. That’s after the newspaper reported in May that some current and former employees of Michigan Child Protective Services say supervisors in as many as seven counties shuffled cases to employees who were out of the office on leave or vacation. They say the purpose was to make it appear caseworkers were not overburdened.

“Well if it’s true, it’s awful,” says state Representative Joe Graves , who chairs the House Oversight Committee. “It’s very serious. We’re talking about children.”

The department says it’s not true. There was an internal investigation after the story was first reported in May, says Bob Wheaton of the state Department of Health and Human Services, and it found no instances of caseloads being shuffled around.

The agency is operating under federal court supervision because of issues with caseloads.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.