Sunday, September 6, 2009

L.A. Daily News Reports On CPS Help Suggestions

Los Angeles Daily News

Expert tells how he would prevent "panic" in foster-system

by Troy Anderson, Staff writer 9/4/09

To prevent a "foster-care panic" in which social service agencies needlessly remove children from homes, foster care expert Richard Wexler offers a few recommendations for the Board of Supervisors:

*Expand any investigation of high-profile death cases to include equal attention to cases of wrongful removal.

*Seek changes in state law to provide for "total transparency," including opening court hearings in child welfare cases, and most case records, to the public and press.

*Establish clear public benchmarks for progress, post the data prominently on the DCFS Web site and commit to measuring DCFS by those outcomes, "not by whatever happens to be on the front page that morning."

*Suspend the use of "structured decision-making" in which computers decide when to remove children based on questionnaires filled out by social workers.

"They need to make clear to front-line caseworkers that wrongfully removing a child from a safe home is every bit as dangerous as leaving a child in a dangerous home," said Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said he's confident an action the board recently took calling on better information-sharing among various government agencies will help prevent tragedies like the recent ones.

"We need to use these tragedies to improve and upgrade DCFS investigations," Antonovich said. "That's why we are talking about using more modern technology."

Sounds good to me!PRR


Anonymous said...

One of the first things I studied, and it had me sitting on the edge of my seat, was child abuse panic and the trends it produced. Child abuse panic needs to be legislated and brought into balance with criteria that limits emotional reactions to events.
Of interest in information exchange around the country, many things that I read and studied from two years ago have disappeared. In particular, a child abuse panic happened in New York a few years ago that had implemented a solid system of family preservation programs. As a matter of fact, there was a huge reduction in child removal and reported abuse. A panic ensued after ONE CHILD Died and overnight, children were snatched up from safe homes and put in foster care sleeping on floors, stacked to the ceilings, and abuse, neglect, and deaths went through the roof. I challenge anyone to find the articles that discuss this now. They have literally disappeared and been replaced with critical analysis of that eras family preservation programs. Unfortunately, I assumed these articles would stay available forever and easily found so I didn't reference and site them in hand written form. I am learning that now when I find something this important, I must document and keep track of sources. Who is removing all this stuff and how are they getting away with it?
Family preservation has not been given a fair shake. Look at Michigan as somewhere to examine. It was a test site for family preservation and huge amounts of money was involved. Out of the programs who received this money for experimental use, only one really changed their tactics and was worthy of examination in outcomes. All these other programs just took the money and kept doing the same, old warn out remove them and lose em' tactics just more of it. They were able to do this and get away with it because there wasn't strict criteria and expected outcomes laid out. These experiments became a total waste of tax payer dollars and is often pointed to as a "failure of family preservation." No, it was not a failure of family preservation but of symantics and failure to carefully state expectations.
I am really angry that the depleting social security is being used this way and that any attempts at getting government fingers out of it is quickly thwarted. I didn't pay into social security all my life just to have it taken and used for purposes never intended. Those responsible aren't asking tax payer opinions.

Robert James Patterson said...

DFCS in California needs SERIOUS reform!!!! A private citizen, whom supplies weed to a work tried to kidnap my child through his connection to a socail worker here in the Chatsworth office! Please Ms. Roach, get the phone records for both the office and the DCFS issued cell phones for the employees at the Chatsworth DCFS and you will see that Ms. Denise Sherman called my house on Dec. 24th, TO SCORE SOME WEED! She talked with Ruben Carvajal whom later threatend to kidnap my child and to do it legally!

Anonymous said...

Richard Wexler is a great source for common sense information. I really wish more people listened to what he has to say.

Anonymous said...

Child abuse and neglect is a public safety issue. Child Protection is a job that should be handled by police and prosecutors. Another thing that would help break this mess up and make it more managable is to have CPS a county and city run agency. It would also bring the federal money into smaller budgets. Even though money fuels the madness it would make things more easily accountable to the citizens.
Change the structure of incentives to reflect keeping families safely together as the success and reward our social workers for doing so.

A change in the way we serve children and families would change if the service provider were easier to rate on productivness with a more intimate sized management. It would also allow smaller businesss owners to bid for contracts. Thus improving local economy and helping to eliminate the monopoly that now dominates these services.
Can it be done? I think so!
Elaine Wolcott-Ehrhardt
Washington Families United/President

Anonymous said...

Lost father
Child abuse should be kept a police job, then the state would have to comply with the Constitution of The United States.
That alone would stope most cases as the case workers would not be able to work from a jail cell.
As to the local government runing things, I was told that the local agency is aloud to spend some money as they see fit without answer to anyone. That would be far better if they were private and had to justify ever penney spent as other busisness do.