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FYI: Governor Pataki vetoed a bill last week that would have authorized demonstration projects for a “dual track” approach to responding to reports of child abuse and neglect. Under the bill, investigators would have to determine within 72 hours of getting a report if the case should be placed on an “assessment” or “investigatory” track. Assessment cases would be treated as though they were unfounded complaints, but the family could get preventive services to deal with problems that may lead to abuse or neglect. New York City objected to the bill, citing a host of technical concerns–that the 72-hour window is too short (investigators currently have a week to decide if a report is valid), for instance, and that the bill didn’t create statewide standards for determining which cases land on which track. In his veto, Pataki encouraged legislators to rewrite the bill with these complaints in mind. Check out the July/August issue of City Limits magazine for Rachel Blustain’s look at the adversarial relationship between families and child protection services in the city, and at how other states have used the dual track approach to reverse that trend. [9/26/03]

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