[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Antonovich, Ridley-Thomas Call for Commission to Oversee Child-Protection Overseers | 06-20-2013
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
65°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 21
1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]


antonovich050113a

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich

UPDATE June 25, 2013: Board Green-lights New Commission

 

[Supv. Antonovich] – The Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael D. Antonovich establishing a Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection to develop a corrective action plan which includes cooperation among law enforcement agencies, the schools, and County departments, along with examining the policies and procedures related to staff discipline, promotion, and the memoranda of understanding.

“This action affirms the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to the safety and well-being of the children in the County’s care,” said Antonovich.

 

[Supv. Don Knabe] – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider a motion to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection at its meeting today. Supervisor Don Knabe issued the following statement regarding the proposed commission: “Over the last several years, we have had countless commissions, groups, panels and advisory boards provide us with recommendations for improving child protection services in Los Angeles County. By my approximate count, at least 859 suggestions have been provided, most of which say the same thing: we must ensure that our social workers have manageable and realistic caseloads, we must give our employees the training and resources they need to be effective, and we must end our relationships with service providers who abuse our funds. We are drowning in recommendations. Adding yet another commission to the galaxy of commissions we have to tell us what we already know will be a waste of time and money and will only distract us further from what needs to be fixed. We have a department where 99% of the employees are outstanding public servants working in some really tough situations. However, innocent children have paid the ultimate price when we didn’t get it right, and I am sick about it. There should be a zero-tolerance policy for any staff or any service providers who do not do their jobs and expose children to harm. I am not suggesting that we do nothing. But we should not rashly dismiss our current efforts. Late last year, this Board was presented with a strategic plan developed by DCFS to put in place a set of action items that address a number of the systemic problems that compromise child safety and hamper our workers’ ability to get the job done. This Board approved that plan, and it is moving forward. We have no more important job than protecting the most vulnerable children in this county. Another Commission will not address the problems we face or set us on a path to the future. In fact, it will be a distraction to the very important work at hand. We know what must be done and we must remain committed to the course we set.”

 

Original story:

Fifth District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas are calling on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to create a blue-ribbon commission to oversee the Department of Children and Family Services in the context of its responsibility to ensure the safety of foster children.

The motion they will present to the board at its Tuesday meeting reads as follows:

 

MOTION BY SUPERVISORS MARK RIDLEY-THOMAS AND MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

ESTABLISHING A BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION ON CHILD PROTECTION

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is charged with the safety and protection of neglected and abused children within Los Angeles County (County). In that role, it provides services to families and children in crisis through other County departments and community professionals. DCFS is responsible for ensuring that services are integrated and coordinated amongst all these entities for the ultimate safety of the children in its care.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Once again, DCFS is under scrutiny for alleged mismanagement of Foster Family Agency contracts, and for the recent death of Gabriel F., (age 8), who was allegedly tortured and abused by his mother and her boyfriend. In Gabriel F.’s case, there appear to have been repeated reports of abuse and neglect preceding his death. Just four years ago, Dae’von B., (age 6), was found dead in his home despite repeated reports of reports of abuse in the preceding months. Two years ago, Erica J., (age 2), died of massive trauma inflicted by her mother’s boyfriend. DCFS had determined that leaving the child in the mother’s care was a “high” risk, but failed to remove her because allegations of abuse were unfounded.

These tragic incidents are not new to the Board of Supervisors (Board). As far back as 1993, in an effort to maximize child protection accountability, the Board established the Commission for Children and Families. In 1996, the Board established the Children’s Services Inspector General, the predecessor entity to the Children’s Special Investigation Unit (CSIU), which was established in 2008. In 2010, the Board also called for improved collection of data on child fatalities, and ordered improvements to enable social workers to access vital data on children in danger. In 2011, the Board voted to directly oversee DCFS.

In 2012, CSIU issued a lengthy report identifying systemic flaws in the County’s child protection safety network. The CSIU report on 13 child fatality incidents cited poor investigations, followed by poor decision making, failed communications, and finally, lax supervision and management within DCFS as “Recurring Systemic Issues”, which caused deadly failures in the County’s child protection duties. The recurring problems identified by CSIU appear to have been factors in the alleged mishandling of Gabriel F.’s case.

There is widespread agreement among the Board, DCFS leadership, social workers and citizen activists that the child welfare system and the manner of investigating critical cases of child abuse is dysfunctional. The current system does not serve the best interests of the child, the family or the community at large.

Further, there is widespread agreement that child safety investigations can be improved by better training, management, support for and accountability of social workers, as well as improved communications between schools, police agencies, probation staff, DCFS and other key stakeholders in the County’s child safety network.

Notwithstanding the absence of controversy over the need for such reforms, the results of the County’s attempts to implement are unclear or arguably inadequate.

Since 2008, the Board has passed approximately 35-40 child safety motions. The CSIU through its work and previous studies by outside experts have prescribed numerous policies for improving the County’s performance in handling critical child abuse incidents, as well as how to consistently serve the children under the County’s responsibility. DCFS continues to work toward the implementation of its strategic plan but these efforts have and continue to fall short of expectations.

It is now time for the Board to seek an independent review of the obstacles to effectively execute much needed child protection reforms through the appointment of a Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection (Commission).

WE THEREFORE MOVE THAT THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:

1. Create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection. Two members shall be appointed by each Supervisor by July 1, 2013. The Commission’s mandate shall include the following:

a. Review previously delayed or failed efforts to implement reforms and provide recommendations for a feasible plan of action to expeditiously implement needed reforms;

b. Review the systemic, structural and organizational barriers to effective performance. These may include such factors as the current structure, scope of DCFS and relevant County departments, including the departments of Health Services, Mental Health, Public Health, and Sheriff, the District Attorney, the Dependency Court and commissions, various memoranda of understanding, and the relationship of DCFS to the Board; and

c. Review, at its discretion, the child protection failures, including  DCFS policies and cases.

2. Authorize DCFS and all relevant County agencies, County Counsel and the Chief Executive Officer to provide full cooperation to the Commission, including access to personnel records and other records to the fullest extent allowed by law;

3. Direct the Executive Officer of the Board, County Counsel and the Chief Executive Officer to recommend a staffing and funding plan for the  Commission, including provisions for office space and equipment. The  staff shall combine dedicated paid staff with pro bono professional support  as well as assistance from County administrative staff. The Commission  members shall serve for six months with the request that they submit their recommendations to the Board in writing by the end of this calendar year. After which, the commission will sunset.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Gwaag Freebird says:

    I’ll give you an independent review myself. Your investigators are lazy and corrupt and would rather spend time building cases on people based on personal discretion than actually find and investigate incidents of abuse. Guaranteed that ss worker in Palmdale was too busy running around playing the violation of constitutional rights game and intimidation with grandmothers and concerned relatives rather than responding to a squashed hotline abuse call. Your priorities to protect children are financially based. It’s not a system of care, it’s a financial industry where our children are used and the funds squeezed out of them to feed your families. Anyone who works in this field is responsible for it. Now the public is becoming aware of this, dcfs is a farce, even all of you know it.

Leave a Comment


Related Content
LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
Friday, Aug 18, 2017
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has provided $143,000 in funding to extend the season of youth and adult swim programs offered at the Castaic Aquatic Center through October 31.
Friday, Aug 18, 2017
Here are agenda highlights for the next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, set for Tuesday, August 22, starting at 9:30 a.m..
Thursday, Aug 17, 2017
Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, today announces that he is one of the 2017 inductees into the Antelope Valley High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations released a statement Wednesday morning, condemning the violence and mourning a death in Charlottesville.
Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017
On a motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-0, with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining, to establish a “Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety” to explore innovative solutions to criminal justice challenges resulting from statewide reform
Keep Up With Our Facebook
-->
Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]
The Santa Clarita Public Library invites residents to view the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 at the Old Town Newhall Library starting at 10 a.m.
August 21: Solar Eclipse Viewing at Newhall Library
1967 - New Town of Valencia dedicated; homes sell for $25,000 [story]
1879 - Newhall civic leader Charles Henry Kingsburry born in Missouri [story]
Alerted by a concerned citizen Friday, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies once again rescued dogs the owner left in a car with the windows rolled up and no water.
Deputies Break Window, Rescue Dogs Locked in Car
40 oz. to Freedom arrives in Santa Clarita as part of its anniversary tour at Concerts in the Park at Central Park on Saturday, August 19, with showtime at 7 p.m.
August 19: 40 Oz. to Freedom Rocks Central Park
Two local environmental groups filed a complaint in L.A. Superior Court Thursday regarding the approved plan to provide water to the Newhall Ranch development, set to break ground in 2018.
Environmental Groups File Complaint Against Newhall Ranch Water Plan
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has provided $143,000 in funding to extend the season of youth and adult swim programs offered at the Castaic Aquatic Center through October 31.
Castaic Aquatic Center Programs Extended to October 31
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Los Angeles County firefighters and government leaders welcomed back the Super Scoopers Friday morning. Plus, the Old Town Newhall Library helped get the community ready for it as well by handing out free eclipse viewing glasses. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, August 18, 2017
CalArts alumna Audrey Chan (Art MFA 07) will host a free, all-ages interactive arts workshop in Little Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20, as part of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center’s 2017 Nisei Week activities.
August 19-20: Nisei Week Arts Workshop with CalArts Alum Audrey Chan
Western singer and songwriter John Zipperer headlines the next episode of "SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series" at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall the evening of Friday, August 25.
August 25: John Zipperer Headlines ‘SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series’
Habitat for Humanity SFV/SCV is honored to have received a $25,000 grant from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, which will fund trauma workshops.
Habitat for Humanity Receives $25K Grant from Disabled Veterans
Here are agenda highlights for the next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, set for Tuesday, August 22, starting at 9:30 a.m..
August 22: Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda
Ashley Olivier, a student worker at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, summited Mt. Whitney with her dad, a lieutenant at LASD's Monterey Park station.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Student Worker, LASD Dad Top Mt. Whitney
Looking to enter the win column for the first time in 2017 on day two of the Summer Slam volleyball tournament, the TMU Mustangs squared off against 11th-ranked Eastern Oregon but lost in straight sets.
Mountaineers Spike Mustangs at Summer Slam
Caltrans has released "Rail and the California Economy," a research report investigating how the state’s vast passenger and freight rail system contribute to California’s economy, as well as an overview of opportunities for rail to address the state’s needs and challenges in the future.
New Report Details Rail Role in State Economy
The Master’s University women’s soccer team soared to a 7-0 victory over the visiting Eagles from Sierra Nevada College Thursday.
Lady Mustangs Soccer Win Opener 7-0
The Master’s University women's volleyball team concluded their first day of HIU Summer Slam tournament play with a five-set thriller against the Southern Oregon University Raiders on Wednesday evening, dropping the fifth set 15-9.
Lady Mustangs Fall in 5 to Raiders at HIU
A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against claims by a state workers’ union that California’s pension system unfairly changed the terms of a pre-existing collective bargaining agreement.
Court Upholds Increase in CalPERS Retirement Age
Friday's alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District that air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley has been extended through Saturday.
Updated: SCV Air Quality Unhealthy Saturday
Four annual crime reports, which provide law enforcement agencies and the public with statewide data on crime statistics, were released Friday by California's Attorney General.
AG Releases 4 California Crime Reports for 2016
The Master’s University women’s volleyball team lost their 2017 season opener Wednesday at the HIU Summer Slam in straight sets against the Warriors from national powerhouse Corban University (OR).
Warriors Drop TMU Lady Mustangs in Straight Sets
Here's the Castaic/Val Verde (Zone 2) Crime Information and Public Safety Report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of August 7 to August 13.
Crime Blotter: Assault, Theft in Castaic-Val Verde
Two Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station employees will be recognized at the City Council meeting to be held on August 22 at 6 p.m.
City Council to Honor 2 SCV Sheriff’s Station Employees
The city of Santa Clarita’s Youth Sports program has seen measured success thus far in 2017.
Santa Clarita Youth Sports Program Sees Spike in Participation
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center’s new building campaign now only has $1.3 million remaining to raise before groundbreaking on the site can begin.
New SCV Senior Center Needs $1.3M to Break Ground
Sacramento County sued the California Department of Water Resources on Thursday over DWR's certification of the California 'WaterFix' delta tunnels project’s “dizzying” and “shifting” environmental review.
Sacramento County Sues to Freeze California ‘WaterFix’
1946 - Pioneering Placerita Canyon movie producer Trem Carr dies in San Diego [story]
' style=
The storewide remodel of the Walmart Supercenter at 26471 Carl Boyer Drive is complete and, in addition to the many physical changes inside, Santa Clarita residents now have access to Online Grocery Pickup.
Walmart on Carl Boyer Drive Celebrates Grand Reopening Friday
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, two people have been hospitalized after a major collision. Plus, an acquisition of land near the 14. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday August 17, 2017
Le Chene French Cuisine, a long-time Santa Clarita local favorite restaurant along Sierra Highway, has announced that they will be hosting a thrilling Murder Mystery Dinner on Saturday, November 4th, 2017.
Nov. 4: Le Chene Murder Mystery Dinner
Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, today announces that he is one of the 2017 inductees into the Antelope Valley High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
Sept. 22: Wilk to be Inducted into AV High School Hall of Fame
Signups are under way for the Santa Clarita Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which offers participants an opportunity to take a healthy stroll, experience outstanding live entertainment, honor loved ones who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and raise funds to battle the debilitating disease.
Oct. 7: Walk to End Alzheimer’s; Signups Under Way
Trammell Crow Company (TCC) andand Clarion Partners are pleased to announce the acquisition of 54 acres of land for the development of The Center at Needham Ranch, a state-of-the-art business park in the city of Santa Clarita, CA.
TCC, Clarion Partners Acquire More Than 50 Acres of SCV Real Estate