April 9, 2012
The Bureau of State Audits reported in late March on troubling but familiar problems in Los Angeles County's child welfare system: Abuse investigations continue to take longer than the state's standard 30 days to complete. Although the county had a temporary waiver allowing social workers here to take twice as long, there was confusion over the applicable standard, and too many investigations remained untimely even with the extra time. The problem was exacerbated, if not caused, according to the report, by constant churning of leadership in the department and, as a result, by constant changes in marching orders from the top to front-line child welfare workers.
October 11, 2011
Large government agencies with vital missions, such as the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, can run properly only on the strength of selfless work, courageous leadership, responsible oversight — and data. Managers and policymakers need accurate, consistent and complete statistics, and they need to demonstrate that they have chosen the right outcomes to measure. Otherwise, there is no way for them, or the public, to know whether they are succeeding. In October 2010, county supervisors found themselves unable to measure the performance of DCFS because they believed they lacked consistent data from year to year on the number of children who had died as a result of abuse or neglect.
April 10, 2010
Puppy beating trial Re "Puppy beating brings 90-day jail sentence," April 3 Jerry Austin, a friend of Glynn Johnson, the man sentenced recently for beating a puppy, was quoted as saying the trial had "dehumanized" Johnson and "humanized" a dog. "That is unfortunate," Austin said. That's a clever way to frame this, but it doesn't change the facts of the case. The trial isn't what brought discredit and shame to Johnson -- his own behavior is. The Times reports that Johnson bludgeoned a 6-month-old puppy at least 12 times in the head with a 12-pound rock.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 19, 2009 |
Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to launch an investigation into potential flaws in the child welfare system that might have played a role in the deaths of three children over the last month. Child welfare authorities had at one point investigated the care of the three children who died. Statistics show that in the last three years, a dozen children or more have died annually as a result of abuse or neglect despite the fact that their cases had come to the attention of social workers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 2, 2011 |
The interim chief of Los Angeles County's troubled child welfare agency is quitting, a spokesman confirmed Monday. The resignation of Jackie Contreras, effective Sept. 16, is the third departure by an agency director in nine months. Trish Ploehn, the embattled former chief, was forced out in December. In May, her replacement, Antonia Jimenez, quit after defying the Board of Supervisors' plan to reform the Department of Children and Family Services. The agency has been under scrutiny since reports in The Times that more than 70 children had died since 2008 of abuse or neglect after coming to the attention of county social workers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2012 |
More than a year ago, pledges to reform one of the nation's largest child welfare agencies followed a report showing that children in underprivileged areas of Los Angeles County receive alarmingly uneven aid. But the efforts to improve that have largely stalled. Communities with the greatest need for services still have the least experienced child protective staff and those workers have the highest turnover rates. The agency's chief says the disparity has continued because the county and the social workers' union have been unable to agree on how best to slow the movement of employees, who are free under their labor contract to opt out of more challenging assignments, which tend to be in lower socioeconomic areas.