Monday, December 13, 2010

“A HISTORY OF MISTAKES” & DEAD KIDS: LA's Dept. of Children & Family Services Ploehn out; Jimenez in

california’s children blog |

Trish ploehn UPDATE December 13: 12/13/2010 - The Los Angeles Times reported today that LA County CEO William Fujioka has "removed Trish Ploehn" (at left) as the $260K/year director of the Dept. of Children and Family Services. According to the article, Ploehn will handle "administrative work" in Fujioka's office, "unrelated to child welfare."

Fujioka plans to request approval by the Board of Supervisors to appoint one of his deputies as interim director. That deputy is likely to be Antonia Jimenez, Alsop said.

Antonia Jimenez_Deputy CEO_LA County 80x80 Jimenez, left, who has little child welfare experience, arrived at the county earlier this year. She has previous experience as an senior manager at Deloitte, the management consulting firm, and in Massachusetts state government, including the governor’s office.

Since arriving in Los Angeles, she quickly gained the confidence of her superiors for her management expertise and has been admired for her reputation as a turnaround expert.

Previously published on this story:

Trish Ploehn, 56, chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, is expected to be "reassigned" to a position somewhere else within the county system, according to an article in Saturday's Los Angeles Times written by Garrett Therolf. Reporter Therolf, who, for the past few years has been tracking the underreported deaths of children under the supervision of DCFS, writes:

... the Board of Supervisors increasingly criticized Ploehn's performance... In recent months, she hired an attorney to write a letter alleging that they had created a hostile work environment for her, according to a source familiar with the matter. county leaders have acknowledged that the department is in crisis, with a massive backlog of open investigations into child-abuse allegations and a history of mistakes in the oversight of abused and neglected children that sometimes contributed to their injuries or deaths. ...[Ploehn] has worked ... as a youth counselor, adoption specialist and emancipation services worker. In 2003, she became deputy director, and in 2006, she became the first director to be selected from inside the department. She earned about $260,000 last year, making her among the top 200 highest paid county officials.

With 170,000 child abuse hotline calls a year, and 7,300 employees, running the department is one of the most difficult management tasks in local government.

During her tenure, Ploehn has been credited with improving the stability of placements for the 30,000 children living, under the department's active supervision, with family members or in foster care. She also improved education opportunities for some of the foster children.

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