AUGUSTA COUNTY, VA — A scathing investigation is putting Child Protective Services of Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro in the hot seat.
It all surrounds an investigative story published by The News Leader, which revealed hundreds of messages to the department’s child abuse line were, “ignored and erased.”
Shenandoah Valley Social Services covers Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro.
The current director said all of this sparked when the information technology staff was looking at improving the phone answering service. That’s when more than 200 ignored calls were uncovered.
At the same time, a pediatrician who couldn’t reach a person on the phone to report an abuse case voiced his concerns and an Augusta County investigation got underway.
Elizabeth Middleton, the SVSS director, said there used to be one employee assigned to monitor the voice mails, but that employee left in April 2014.
With only 11 employees working there, miscommunication and understaffing led to that responsibility falling through the cracks.
Linda Royster, a local attorney who has worked with SVSS for nearly ten years, says she was shocked when she heard about how so many calls for help were missed.
“I’m horrified. I have two children who were abused before they were adopted,” said Royster. “The very thought that someone could have helped those children before I adopted them and a call went unanswered is appalling”