A persistent backlog of child abuse investigations in Los Angeles County has led to a “crisis” in the Department of Children and Family Services, according to new report released this week by the county chief executive’s office.
The assessment is the most detailed analysis to date by county officials of the backlog of cases — which involve more than 10,000 children according to recent figures — in the troubled department. The findings contradict department Director Trish Ploehn’s statement earlier this year that the longer inquiries have resulted in higher quality child abuse investigations. The report, distributed to county supervisors last month, was not released until The Times appealed to County Counsel Andrea Ordin.
According to the most recent county figures, more than four in ten open investigations have not been concluded in in the 60 days required by the state. Chief Executive William T Fujioka's report finds that shifting workers to combat the delays “appears to be slowly creating a back-end crisis,” depleting resources for other critical tasks. Among the duties handled by back-end workers in the department are foster care placements and home visits.
Read the complete LA Times story: "Persistent backlog in L.A. County child abuse probes has led to a crisis." (Nov. 12, 2010)
For most of 2010, Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services has struggled to investigate child abuse claims within state deadlines. According to a new report by the county executive’s office, the backlog has reached a “crisis” level and is leading to “poor outcomes” in the child abuse investigations unit.
LA COUNTY DCFS REVIEW BY CEO 9Nov2010
LA COUNTY DCFS REVIEW BY CEO :: Contents
- Too many policies are being issued for social workers, and some are duplicative or contradictory p.7
- Middle managers are spending too much time out of the office at community meetings p.9
- Crisis is slowly extending to the "back end" p.9
- The backlog has contributed to "poor outcomes" p.13