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OPINION
August 21, 2005
Re "O.C. to Pay $2 Million in Child-Abuse Case," Aug. 16 As a lifelong resident of Orange County, it angers me that my tax dollars will be used to pay for the incompetence of the county's Department of Children and Family Services. For nine years these two children suffered because this agency failed to investigate allegations of abuse. There is a derogatory but in this case apt phrase used to describe "foster child," and that is "throw away child." Unfortunately, the Department of Children and Family Services did just that with these children.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014 | By Garrett Therolf
Two hungry children were wandering the streets of South Los Angeles alone last week when they walked into a liquor store, searching for a loaf of bread. At one point, they nearly headed across busy Manchester Boulevard until a passerby intervened. The children's ages: 2 and 3. Both wore soiled diapers when authorities picked them up. This week, officials acknowledged that the children and their mother had been under the direct supervision of Los Angeles County's child protective services agency.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 29, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Police are looking for the family of a baby girl found crawling alone on a sidewalk. Officer Kate Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday that the girl is about 6 months old and in good health. Lopez said the baby was found Monday in the Newton neighborhood. Police believe she had not been left alone for long. The girl has been placed under the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Lopez said police hope to locate relatives to care for the girl.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 25, 2013 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to create a citizens' blue ribbon commission to propose reforms in the county's troubled child welfare agency. The commission, with two members to be appointed by each of the five supervisors, will review past attempts at reforms and make recommendations by the end of 2013. The body will also have authority to examine other agencies that deal with child welfare, including law enforcement and health service providers. The supervisors' move was prompted by the death in May of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014 | By Garrett Therolf
Two hungry children were wandering the streets of South Los Angeles alone last week when they walked into a liquor store, searching for a loaf of bread. At one point, they nearly headed across busy Manchester Boulevard until a passerby intervened. The children's ages: 2 and 3. Both wore soiled diapers when authorities picked them up. This week, officials acknowledged that the children and their mother had been under the direct supervision of Los Angeles County's child protective services agency.
OPINION
September 16, 2009 | Richard Wexler, Richard Wexler is executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection. NCCPR's analysis of Los Angeles child welfare is available at nccpr.org
Gerardo R., as he is known in court documents, never beat his children. He did not torture them or stab them or brutalize them. He was a loving father who'd always been a part of his children's lives -- and when their mother lost custody, he immediately stepped forward. But he had to fight for his children's right to live with him. Why? Because he was unable to afford housing deemed satisfactory to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. For that, his children were denied the chance to live with their father and even had their right to have him in their lives terminated forever, until a California appellate court intervened.
OPINION
November 24, 2002
Many thanks to Judge Michael Nash for his eloquently written Nov. 20 commentary, "Kids in Search of Open Doors and Open Hearts." As a longtime volunteer in the foster-care system, I can attest to the lack of adequate foster homes as well as to the incredible resiliency of the children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves part of this system. There is no happier experience than participating in or attending adoption day. When I hear about international or private adoptions, though I know the families' hearts are in the right place, I feel sad for the children in L.A. County who end up being left behind.
OPINION
May 14, 2005
Re "Foster Children Slept in Office," May 7: My husband and I are engaged in the process of becoming licensed foster parents with the intent of adopting a child from the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services. We have made what at times feels like herculean efforts to meet the numerous county and state requirements, including securing child care for our preschool age (biological) children in order to attend 33 hours of parent training, suffering background checks and resigning ourselves to a life under siege prior to (e.g.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 24, 2011 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County's severe backlog of child abuse investigations is largely resolved — ending a crisis that once involved more than 15,000 children and contributed to the ouster of a Department of Children and Family Services director. A recent report by the department said roughly 2,000 children remain involved in cases that have not been resolved within the state's deadline for completion, but many of have complex circumstances that require more time. "This has been accomplished by the hard work of so many staff," said Philip Browning, the department's interim director, noting that the agency will continue to employ special temporary staff to contain the problem.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 10, 2009 | Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Ari B. Bloomekatz
A 2-year-old girl who was found dead in Athens this weekend had been in foster care along with her mother, who is also a minor, authorities said Sunday. The girl, who was identified as Jasmine Granados, was found after firefighters were summoned about 2:50 a.m. Saturday to a residence in the 1200 block of West 93rd Street. Officials with the Los Angeles County coroner's office said Sunday that an autopsy was pending. Meanwhile, the circumstances of the girl's death remained murky.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 14, 2013 | By Jason Song and Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
A stifling bureaucracy and inept workforce have crippled Los Angeles County's child protective agency, resulting in a system that allowed children to remain in unsafe homes, sometimes to die at the hands of their caretakers, according to a confidential county report . The investigation, conducted by an independent counsel for the Board of Supervisors, looked at 15 recent child deaths and a torture case. In all but two instances, investigators found that casework errors began with the agency's first contact with the children and contributed to their deaths.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 2, 2012 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
The mother acknowledged she unleashed a bitter torrent of accusations against the social workers who took her children last year, calling incessantly to claim they were being abused in foster care. But what the workers did in return has drawn a stern rebuke from a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. Amy Pellman, a jurist with deep experience in the county's child welfare system, said they misused their power by retaliating and harassing the family. After she affirmed a referee's decision to return the children to their mother, Pellman declared that the workers acted out of "bad blood" to unravel the family's progress and place the children at risk of being retaken by the county.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 2012 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Nearly a year after a social worker blew the whistle, Los Angeles County supervisors acknowledged Tuesday that a "crisis" had developed in a Wilshire Boulevard office building used to house difficult-to-place foster children and requested a new plan to house them. Supervisor Gloria Molina said the office near MacArthur Park, where the county's child protection agency has its nighttime, emergency operations, has become a "dumping ground" for hundreds of the county's most troubled children when social workers can't find a suitable foster home.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 30, 2012 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
A report released Thursday by the state auditor describes widespread deficiencies in Los Angeles County's oversight of abused and neglected children, finding that problems with the speed and quality of investigations remain despite years of promises by the Board of Supervisors. In July 2010 the department reported 9,300 child abuse investigations that were open longer than the state's 30-day deadline. Although the backlog has decreased substantially, in January it was still 3,200, more than twice as large as it was in July 2009, according to the audit.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 24, 2011 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County's severe backlog of child abuse investigations is largely resolved — ending a crisis that once involved more than 15,000 children and contributed to the ouster of a Department of Children and Family Services director. A recent report by the department said roughly 2,000 children remain involved in cases that have not been resolved within the state's deadline for completion, but many of have complex circumstances that require more time. "This has been accomplished by the hard work of so many staff," said Philip Browning, the department's interim director, noting that the agency will continue to employ special temporary staff to contain the problem.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 15, 2011 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a judge to order county child welfare officials to release records related to the deaths of children who had been under their supervision. Under a law that went into effect in 2008, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services is required to release records to the public when a child dies after passing through the protective services system. "The county has received the lawsuit and is reviewing it, but we cannot comment on pending litigation," said Nishith Bhatt, spokesman for the agency.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 2, 2012 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
The mother acknowledged she unleashed a bitter torrent of accusations against the social workers who took her children last year, calling incessantly to claim they were being abused in foster care. But what the workers did in return has drawn a stern rebuke from a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. Amy Pellman, a jurist with deep experience in the county's child welfare system, said they misused their power by retaliating and harassing the family. After she affirmed a referee's decision to return the children to their mother, Pellman declared that the workers acted out of "bad blood" to unravel the family's progress and place the children at risk of being retaken by the county.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2009 | Kimi Yoshino
Attorney Gloria Allred on Thursday offered octuplet mom Nadya Suleman a way to get round-the-clock nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy and a home for her super-sized Whittier family. All Suleman has to do is call and accept the help from Allred and Angels in Waiting, a charity founded by Kaiser nurse Linda West Conforti. "We're not trying to rip these children away," Conforti said. "We're trying to give her a support system." Suleman has not responded to the offer.
OPINION
August 8, 2011
It starts with the death of a child. There is no event more tragic than the death of an innocent due to an adult's abuse or neglect. Now add government — too blind to the needs of its most vulnerable charges, perhaps, or too prone to snatch children from their homes and too unwilling or too clueless to help troubled families. The final ingredient: Public outrage and demands for change. For decades, those were the factors that determined child welfare policy. High-profile cases of abuse at the hands of violent or addicted parents resulted in panic and waves of removals, supposedly in the interests of child safety.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 6, 2011 | By Kate Mather and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
The current head of Los Angeles County's Department of Public Social Services could be the latest in a long line of leaders to oversee the county's embattled child welfare agency, which has seen three directors depart in nine months. On Friday, Philip Browning was recommended to be the interim director of the Department of Children and Family Services by Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Zev Yaroslavsky and will be considered by the full five-member board at its next meeting on Tuesday.  "Philip's leadership and management skills as a current department head qualify him to lead and manage [the Department of Children and Family Services]
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