Child Advocates Demand Changes in DSS

Senate panel hears testimony.

Columbia (WACH) -- The former deputy director of the State Department of Social Services answering tough questions from a senate panel Wednesday.

Linda Martin worked for DSS for more than 30 years and during that time she says requests for help and support often went unanswered.

"I was told by the director in open meetings that, and I quote "trained monkeys" could do the work that your staff does." says Martin.

Martin arguing current leadership at the state agency has taken drastic measures to meet goals and will do anything to get there... Including publicly humilating or terminating staff when numbers aren't met.

"Most of the executive staff and almost all of the county directors are hired from outside the agency and have no experience in the jobs they currently hold." says Martin.

"I think it's time for new leadership at the agency, I think she has run it into the ground, I think morale is at an all time low, I think high risk children are more vulnerable than ever." says Senator Joel Lourie.

Witness after witness testifying that children were often returned to what former DSS employees say were at-risk homes to meet what they called the quote "wildly important goal" of placing children.

"It's like the ship is sinking, people are screaming for help and the captain is hiding in the hole." says Lourie.

Proposals are being introduced at the statehouse that would would close loopholes in DSS policies.

Members of the panel say it's time to think about the welfare of the children, not just easy solutions.