A Schenectady County Court judge today sentenced to probation a former county caseworker accused of lying about checking on a mother and her baby who later was discovered to be emaciated and suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.
But, the judge also called on the county Department of Social Services to ensure such a problem never happens again.
A county official later noted the caseworker was immediately fired. Though he called the caseworker a “rogue,” County Attorney Christopher Gardner also said the county has “doubled down” on making sure a similar situation never happens again.
Judge Karen Drago Tuesday sentenced Milagros Noriega to five years of probation which was agreed upon after her guilty plea earlier to one count of felony falsifying business records.
The deal also included a provision that Noriega never again work as a caseworker or in any social services capacity.
Noriega, now of Albany, was accused of lying about checking on a mother and her baby. She pleaded guilty to a felony, admitting to falsifying records.
Drago noted that Noriega bears blame, but she also turned her attention to the social services system.
“I am concerned about this county’s ability with their current resources and finances to appropriately handle the needs of many of the families in this community,” Drago said.
Drago said she wanted to know what kind of oversight caseworkers get. She also thought maybe there was the need for some cases to have more than one caseworker.
“Maybe this is an aberration,” Drago said, “but I do have concerns on oversight.”
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