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Friday, May 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Report Eyes Struggles in Child Welfare Agency

(CN) - Delays and missed deadlines in the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services left 900 children in unsafe or inappropriate living environments, the state auditor said Thursday.

In a 93-page report on child welfare services of Los Angeles County, the auditor concluded that "instability in the department's management has hampered its efforts to address long-standing problems."

"From 2008 to 2010 the department completed fewer than a third of home and caregiver assessments before placing children with relatives," State Auditor Elaine Howle wrote. "This delay resulted in nearly 900 children living in placements that the department later determined to be unsafe or inappropriate."

"Even after these determinations, the children typically remained in these homes for nearly a month and half before the department removed them, or later reassessed and approved the placement."

In nine of 20 home placements, the Auditor's Office found that the department did not complete required assessments and background checks before placing children with relatives.

Four different directors have led Children and Family Services in just over a year, and the turnover has affected the department's ability to cohesively tackle the issues, the report states.

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