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Child Welfare

December 14, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf, Times Staff Writer
Trish Ploehn, the embattled director of Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services, was removed Monday and is expected to be replaced for now by a top county official who wrote a recent report which found the agency to be in "crisis. " Antonia Jimenez, a top aide to county Chief Executive William T Fujioka, called for focused attention on reducing a backlog of child abuse investigations in the report, which was released last month. She also found numerous management deficiencies in the department, saying that the agency needed to improve its system for employee discipline and simplify directions given to workers.
December 13, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
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.
December 4, 2010 | Patt Morrison
If he is elected in 2012, as he has been the last eight times he's run, Michael D. Antonovich will have spent 36 years on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors before he terms out in 2016. He and his four fellow supervisors each represent more people than some U.S. senators do, and their policies may have a more direct impact on their constituents' daily lives. Antonovich stepped into public office on the Los Angeles Community College Board in 1969, then to the Assembly and back to his native turf on the county board.
November 25, 2010 | By Larry Golan, Mike Ross, Tony Bravo and Blanca Gomez
Los Angeles County social workers are serious about fixing the child welfare system. We believe strong leadership is essential and that all stakeholders must be involved in the solution. That includes the Board of Supervisors, department leadership, the county chief executive's office and front-line social workers through our union, SEIU 721. Now that is starting to happen. As The Times noted in a Nov. 12 article, SEIU 721 "was one of the first entities to raise the alarm about the backlog" in a March letter to leaders in the Department of Children and Family Services to the Board of Supervisors.
October 10, 2010 | By Jack Leonard and Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas announced Saturday that he is asking the county's child welfare agency to provide the Board of Supervisors with accurate data about children's deaths going back to 1990. Ridley-Thomas described child fatalities under the county's watch as a crisis and said he plans to call on fellow supervisors Tuesday to order the Department of Children and Family Services to compile comprehensive figures for deaths of children who had a history of abuse or neglect.
October 9, 2010 | By Jack Dolan and Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday vetoed nearly $1 billion in spending on welfare, child care, special education and other programs before signing the budget bill that lawmakers had passed about eight hours earlier after a marathon overnight session. The governor slashed 23 line items from the $87.5-billion general fund budget, including $256 million from a program for school-age children of families moving off welfare, $133 million from mental health services for special education students and nearly $60 million from AIDS treatment and prevention programs.
September 29, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services officials have continued to search for individuals they believe shared confidential information about child deaths with The Times, according to a senior official who alleged that her personal belongings underwent a warrantless search. Director Trish Ploehn said that "because this incident is being investigated, we are limited in terms of specifics we can provide. However, we strongly deny the allegations being made and believe that the investigation will show that no actions by DCFS staff were in violation of any individual's rights.
September 9, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County's child welfare system, already under fire for failing to report dozens of child deaths tied to abuse or neglect, is facing allegations that an official intentionally falsified fatality reports. The existence of the civil allegations, filed in June by two senior managers and revealed this week after a public records request by The Times, comes to light as the Board of Supervisors acted to remove the county's independent child-death investigator, according to three sources familiar with the decision.
August 6, 2010 | By Wendy Ramallo
Another child death, another vote by Los Angeles County supervisors. Miguel Padilla, Lazhanae Harris, Nicole Haas and now 11-year-old Jorge Tarin, who hanged himself in June, are just a few of the hundreds of children who have died when they should have been protected by Los Angeles County's child welfare and juvenile justice systems. News reports said Jorge's caseworker didn't have the technology to get the facts that might have prevented his suicide. But children don't lose their lives because of the lack of a wireless computer card.
June 30, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
The tip that abuse was taking place in the Long Beach home where 2-year-old Joseph Byrd lived came to Los Angeles County child welfare officials nearly two months ago. But 57 days after opening an investigation into the allegations, social workers had yet to determine if Joseph was at risk when the toddler was pronounced dead Saturday. Coroner's officials have listed the case as a homicide. At the time of Joseph's death, social workers were still looking into allegations of abuse and neglect in a family that already had been investigated five times, according to sources familiar with their history.
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