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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor says more social workers being recruited


Family Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche

By The Star Staff


After the case of a 13-year-old girl who died last Friday in San Sebastián, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Monday that the Family Department is in the process of recruiting more social workers and has already added 80 to its ranks.


“I see that the secretariat and its team are well focused on recruiting more social workers,” the governor said in response to questions from the press.


“The last figure I have is that they already have 80 additional social workers,” he said. “The salary of social workers has been increased and now exceeds more than $3,000 per month.”


The recruitment drive is being spurred by social problems, in particular the abuse of minors and the elderly. The agency seeks to increase the staff that deals with those matters and improve its efficiency.


Over the weekend, 13-year-old Gabriela Cabán Cruz died at a health clinic in San Sebastián where she was taken by her 27-year-old “boyfriend,” Bryan Pérez Hernández, who is in police custody. No cause of death had been reported as of press time Monday, pending the completion of an autopsy.


Family Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche announced on Monday that she had assumed temporary custody of young Cabán Cruz’s siblings.


“The Family Department assumed provisional custody of two children, ages 6 and 11, siblings of the 13-year-old girl who died last Friday in San Sebastián for reasons that are still being investigated by law enforcement authorities,” Rodríguez Troche said in a written statement.


“The siblings are protected, safe and located with a family resource,” the official added. “Family’s social team is offering support and services to both of them after the tragic event. This is a very sad case, with multiple dimensions and angles, which is why we are working with the authorities.”


The governor also noted that “innovation is also being done because scholarships are being offered for students to choose that concentration, that profession [social work].”


Regarding violence and crime, Pierluisi said there has been a 20 percent reduction in homicides compared to the previous year and pointed out that it is not effective to declare a state of emergency every time a problem arises.


“There are areas in which there is no alternative, some that are not prioritized for example, but the fight against crime is a priority,” the governor said.


He stressed the importance of working as a team with federal authorities, dismantling gangs and addressing the root causes of crime such as mental health issues, addiction and substance abuse.

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