The Department of Child Safety expects to eliminate its backlog of child abuse and neglect investigations by January 2017.
Director Greg McKay sat down with ABC15 reporter Melissa Blasius on Thursday.
After he was hired to fix DCS in 2015, McKay watched the number of backlog cases continue to rise, which led to calls for his firing a year ago.
"As long as there was 16,000 backlog cases, workers didn't have the time to engage children and families and do the best job they should be doing," he said.
Now he's proclaiming success as backlog case numbers plummet.
Currently there are about 4,000 unfinished cases, which have not been reviewed in the last 60 days. McKay expects to get down to 1,000 or fewer old cases in January. That's the benchmark set by the legislature to consider the backlog over.
"We're going to hit that mark, and we're really happy about that," McKay said.
Budget money earmarked to finish the old cases will transfer to finding permanent placements for the state's 18,100 foster children.
"We can really put more emphasis on how do we safely get kids out of the system of care faster into a permanent life, rather than the languishing that's been going on," McKay said.