By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A recent city council hearing revealed ongoing problems in Philadelphia’s child welfare system. The system has been struggling with reforms launched five years ago that were intended to improve services. But the hearing found improvements have been slow and incomplete.

Councilwoman Cindy Bass called the hearing after the Department of Human Services released a report card giving poor marks to the Community Umbrella Agencies that now handle child welfare cases.

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“This does not make sense that that would be acceptable,” Bass said.

DHS Commissioner Cynthia Figueroa agreed that it’s not acceptable but says she’s already made great strides since arriving a year and a half ago to a system in chaos….

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“We’re moving in the right direction,” Figueroa said. “There’s still a long way to go.”

Frank Cervone of the Support Center for child advocates highlighted the remaining challenges such as the slow pace of adoptions and inexperienced case workers with too many cases.

“These numbers demonstrate that the reform isn’t done yet,” he said, “and when work is below grade, children and families get hurt.”

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Cervone agrees there have been improvements but, he says, “we must be impatient with the pace of change.”