Ministry enacts emergency plan to deal with shortage in child investigators

The Welfare and Social Services Ministry on Wednesday said it would employ an emergency plan to deal with the shortage in children's investigators. Only social workers specifically certified for the job are allowed by law to question children under the age of 14 in cases of abuse or mistreatment. The shortage in such officials has led the number of children awaiting investigation to rise steadily in recent years, and it has now reached approximately 1,000. Some children reportedly must wait up to nine months to be questioned, and during this time period may be exposed to further abuse and danger. According to the emergency plan, the ministry will 'reinforce' its ranks by employing retired children's investigators for the next few months. Investigators will work overtime, conducting 35 investigations per month instead of 22, and priority will be given to children who are believed to have been hurt by family members. The ministry said it hoped to conclude all 1,000 investigations by November.