December 13, 2010 |
Los Angeles County Chief Executive William T. Fujioka has removed Trish Ploehn as director of the Department of Children and Family Services, according to his spokesman. Ploehn will be transferred to a new position in Fujioka's office handling "administrative work that is unrelated to child welfare," said Ryan Alsop, Fujioka's spokesman. The decision ends Ploehn's troubled four-year tenure as head of a department whose 7,300 employees are responsible for the welfare of more than 30,000 children under active supervision.
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.
September 2, 2011 |
Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director for Los Angeles County's beleaguered child welfare agency, carries two cellphones in his pocket. One BlackBerry tethers him to his county job, where he is responsible for the mental health needs of nearly 20,000 foster children. The second — kept in a plastic case adorned with images of dollar bills — is reserved for his Beverly Hills-based private psychiatric practice, where his patients have included Paris Hilton, and for scheduling appearances on television interview and reality shows.
August 1, 2013 |
A blue-ribbon commission on child protection, set to meet Thursday for the first time, was formed in response to the death earlier this year of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez of Palmdale after county Department of Children and Family Services workers missed or ignored warning signs and complaints that the boy was being regularly and severely abused. This week, county officials announced that they had taken steps to fire four workers involved in the Palmdale boy's case, and that others had received warning or reprimand letters.
June 10, 2013 |
The killing last month of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez of Palmdale led Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles to demand a state audit of L.A. County's Department of Children and Family Services. On its face, the demand appears to make some sense. An outside investigator such as State Auditor Elaine M. Howle might be able to provide some valuable insight into why an agency like DCFS didn't remove Gabriel from a situation that, in retrospect, looks only too clearly to have been cruel and abusive.