Archive for March 2012
The Politics of Child Abuse: Emancipated Teens – a Profitable Business when you Get the Contract.
By Joshua Allen
Apparently the county has a difficult time monitoring the 12 contractors who administer the Transitional Housing Program for foster teens that remain in the system, and are emancipated after graduating high school. You can read the Daily News article (including the list of contractors) here: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_20249268/help-ex-foster-children-often-fails but the gist is this.
Auditor Controller Wendy Watanabe reported that half of the contractors, who were paid almost 25 grand a year per young adult, didn’t even bother to make the necessary reports to the county, let alone meet the educational and or vocational target goals for each individual.
Goals are a county obsession of late. DCFS has an entire department called Quality Control that monitors reports to ensure they are written with requisite goals and include documented steps towards these goals attainment.
The formats on paper are very important. Agencies will agonize before any county or state audit to ensure that the correct sentences are written, in the correct way, and that the reports (on paper) meet compliance issues. The reports are scrutinized closely by auditors and written goals monitored step by step, just like an algebraic proof.
And occasionally the foster children and teens are even interviewed by the county or state auditor.
But back to the first paragraph. Half of these guys didn’t even turn in the paperwork! Something such places are usually very adept at. Paperwork for some social workers is what they do best.
Transitional Housing is actually a pretty sweet deal. You buy an apartment building, have an employee kind of, sort of, monitor the young adults – maybe find them a shrink or something if they ask…What the heck, they all have MediCal right? Then you get something like a hundred grand or so for four people per year.
It’s really hard to get the foster youth into the program too, since there are so few spots (about 80 or so). The foster teens must be in good standing, on the way towards a job or enrolled in college of some type. But after that it’s up to them, the adult-youths-still-in-the-system really need to make a go of it, no problems with the law, continued employment or school enrollment…it’s a good deal and can last a couple years or a bit more while they land on their feet.
As stated, it’s a good program, and issue is not taken with the failure to meet unrealistic performance goals. Social workers learn the hard way that it is not to their advantage to write about unmet goals in their reports since the aftermath entails a whole passel full of unanswerable questions. G-d forbid! And this unrealistic goal requirement is alluded to in the article.
12 contractors and half of them didn’t turn in reports. Hmmm…Our County Supervisors and semi annual DCFS head don’t like this at all.
So the issue as I see it is this. (Excuse the run on sentence but it works for me). Where are all these non-reports for half of these kids, and how long has this non-reporting been going on, and why has this non-reporting been allowed to go on for so long, and who actually dropped the ball?
And if the County couldn’t monitor 80 or so people, what else in foster care don’t they monitor?
The Business of Child Abuse.
The Politics of Child Abuse: It’s not just Big Business.
By Joshua Allen
There has been a lot of “to do,” of late about the courts willingness to allow the occasional reporter or two to witness the sausage making in what we enthusiastically call ‘Children’s Court.’ http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-newton-dependency-court-20120319,0,792213.column
The prospect throws various denizens of mediocrity into a tizzy with concerned outcries that allowing reporters and other media types in to see such skull and bones machinations may further damage the very abused and neglected children our revered system is designed to protect.
Attorneys representing the county, the children and the birth parents seem to object to media coverage as a matter of course. (Goodness that’s a lot of lawyers! How much does this all cost)?
One wonders if our tax paid attorneys are more afraid of shedding light on their occasional incompetence rather than any perceived damage to their clients, be it birth parents, abused and neglected children or the county interests which lay somewhere off to the side in another universe.
That is not to say it’s not a tough job they all have, trying to muddle through lies, fools and various reality constructs by parents who want to get their children back no matter what the cost.
Constant Birth Parent antics such as false allegations, outright lies and various other forms of skullduggery are unfortunately so common as to drown out legitimate complaints from those parents, and worse still their children, who are basically being “shafted” by the system.
It happens, just like every prison has some convicts who really didn’t do it. However, and all too frequently, when it comes to such individuals the blame lies with everything and everyone but the person in the mirror.
But they really shouldn’t worry. Attorneys and concerned child advocates types have little to fear from the rare visit by various media folks whose organizations find little pay off when allocating reporting resources. It doesn’t really sell many papers or commercial air time you see.
So don’t worry guys, your mediocrity is safe.
And as usual, it’s the children who suffer.