Employees of the Glendale office of the Los Angeles County Department of Children's Services on Tuesday protested plans to move the office to Pasadena.
The move would combine the Glendale and Pasadena Children's Services offices under one roof, beginning in June. The western part of the Glendale office's territory would be reassigned to the department's Panorama City office.
Children's Services official Emery Bontrager said the department is combining the offices to cut costs. Bontrager said he could not give a dollar estimate of the savings.
Glendale social workers say the cost-cutting measure will backfire, distancing them from the people they serve and increasing the time needed to respond to reports of child abuse and neglect.
"Many of the people we help are on welfare," social worker Rob Jones said. "People on welfare don't have cars."
Bontrager acknowledged that the move might inconvenience some employees and clients but said he did not consider that inconvenience significant.
"The workers in our offices travel all over the county placing children in foster homes," Bontrager said. "That means our operation is not necessarily confined to each community."
The 25 Glendale-office employees who signed a petition protesting the move also said asbestos in the planned site of the new office will pose a long-term health threat to employees and clients. They contest the results of a county-sponsored examination of the building, at 3452 Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena, which found that asbestos levels were insignificant.
The Department of Children's Services is charged with protecting children who are abused and neglected.
Social workers investigate reports of child abuse, monitor cases, place some children in foster homes if necessary and refer cases to police and the courts.
The department's Glendale office serves clients in Glendale, Burbank, North Hollywood, Tujunga and Sun Valley. The new Pasadena office will serve Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Altadena, Arcadia, San Marino and Monrovia.