Carbon County is working with the state to implement a statewide child abuse database.

During the county commissioners' meeting last week, the board discussed correspondence received from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare about the implementation of a statewide Child Welfare Information Solution that will provide improvements to how information is gathered and shared between the state and the county Children and Youth agencies.

Carbon's tentative budget for the program is $39,753. Of that total, $20,036 will come from the state; $6,360 will be federal funding; and Carbon County will be responsible for $13,357.

Commissioner William O'Gurek said that the system will help county offices see what is happening in other counties in cases of child abuse.

"I think this is an important tool for our office of Children and Youth," O'Gurek said. "Currently, if they need or want to find out if there was an abuse taking place in another county they would need to call something called Child Line, which is a state abuse registry, and physically talk to someone.

"Under this system, it will be available online and that is important because they can readily get information in a faster manner."

O'Gurek said Carbon has about 125-130 child abuse reports per year. This may increase though because of changes with wording by the state to determine if the case is abuse.

Starting next year, the state is lowering the threshold to determine abuse.

"We're happy the county can be a partner in this," O'Gurek added. "At the end of the day, it's money well spent in the best interest of keeping the children of this county safe."

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, commended the employees of the county Children and Youth agency because it is a very difficult job.

Caseworkers must go into homes where cases are reported and make tough decisions on whether a child should remain or be taken out of the home.