Foster Care: Crimes, Misdemeanors and Greed
LA Foster Care: Crimes, Misdemeanors and Greed
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen:
In my previous missive regarding the business of child abuse in Los Angeles I briefly referenced two foster agencies as examples of corruption within the Agency Foster Care system including insight into how the Agencies manipulate and use their own Board of Directors to sign off on,… well just about anything! http://ourla.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1392&Itemid=3235 Brief facts regarding two other culprits continue to drive home my point.
Previously I detailed how two agencies, Hannah’s Children Homes and McKinley’s were found by auditors to be paying excessive or unreasonable salaries (in the case of Hannah’s Children Homes’ two individuals and in the case of McKinney’s one) over $42,000 for the single year audited. Extrapolating over 5 years, we see that the cost to the taxpayer would be several hundred thousand dollars, since any payback would be for that single year alone. Extrapolating to the dozens so other agencies not yet investigated, audited or just plain good at covering up, we can easily conclude that money rapaciously grabbed from suffering Abused and Neglected children can comes over time to millions of dollars.
This is no exaggeration. Previously, some agency CEO’s were found to be paying themselves a dozen times that amount as detailed here. http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/20/local/me-foster20 And I am not saying the majority of agencies do this. The truth is there are so few timely fiscal audits to check through publically provided information that I don’t know how bad this problem is, but I have my suspicions. So if I may, let me give a very recent example.
The case of America Care http://file.lacounty.gov/bc/q2_2009/cms1_132473.pdf A 2009 fiscal review found over $234,000 in unsupported or inadequately supported expenditures and over $86,000 in excessive salary payments to 3 individuals. Now admittedly the former has a lot to do with lousy paperwork (but not all by any means), and the latter…well, let’s see, over 86 grand in excessive salary to 3 people for one year for this single agency. Extrapolate this by 5 years again and you have close to a half a million dollars! Money meant for abused children. And from a single agency for 3 well connected individuals. Sadly, whatever excessive salary the county can coerce them to return is apparently for that single year. Now don’t forget, These people couldn’t even document their gas receipts! (But thank heavens they were responsible for children who were victims of crime, sexual abuse and parental neglect). America Cares a bit too much if you ask me, but for what?…
And change has been slow since International Foster Family Agency was shut down years ago because the CEO paid herself almost $400,000 in salary and benefits for the better part of a decade. I must admit while old news, this audit is downright salacious. http://file.lacounty.gov/Auditor/audit_reports/Children%20and%20Family%20Services%20-%20Adoption/cms1_009136.pdf
These days it almost seems CEO’s and Administrators of some of the greedier agencies feel the “sweet spot,” is an extra 40 grand (beyond their allowable salaries) which they can get away with for years until being made to return it. And don’t forget, they only need return the money for the single year when the dreaded “fiscal review,” finally occurs. Makes cents to me! And well worth it since there is little downside beyond a “tut tut,” and a stern warning. (Or at least until the next audit when by that time you have retired to your million dollars home in San Dimas). Or until other agencies hire you to consult so they too can share in the booty. It’s enough to make agency big shots cringe in fear.
And it beats me why anyone penalized because of impropriety be it fiscal or having settled close to a dozen cases of sexual harassment be allowed to remain and work in the child abuse industry after a short recess to lick ones wounds (or gold encrusted cotton candy).
This is not the private sector; these people have no right to large tax payer income from the backs of abused children; but then who does? So here is an idea, let these reformed healers help abused children from private sector dollars should they be truly repentant.
So Board of Supervisors:
Why are fiscal reviews so infrequent? They would pay for themselves!
Why are these people allowed to keep their jobs when it is clear their intentions were not mere errors in accounting but something far worse.
Why are they allowed to come back consulting or with some other job associated with Foster Care Agencies (in effect continued to profit from abused children) when the county has met their own meager burden of truth that forced CEO’s and Administrators to quit in the first place? These people have no sacred right to salaries from the taxpayer.
What are the repercussions when the county makes hundreds of thousands of dollars in over payments and the Agency says nothing?
The amount of Abused and Neglected Children in Los Angeles county foster care has decreased by over half during the past 5 years. Yet, the multibillion dollar budget for Abused and Neglected Children has basically stayed the same during the same period. Okay…… So what exactly is happening? Where is that extra money going? Does anybody think the welfare of Abused and Neglected Children has greatly improved during the same time period?
We have only scratched the surface.