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The Business Of Child Abuse: The Good, The Bad, The Corruption

Extra Extra: Trish Ploehn has a Clue!

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Extra Extra:  Trish Ploehn has a Clue!

By Joshua Allen:

The Business of Child Abuse.

News Broadcast:  According to Trish Ploehn DCFS director:

“Social workers didn’t think much about education until the past few years. We kind of thought of it as the schools’ job,” said LA County Department of Children and Family Services Director Trish Ploehn. “But in LA we’re understanding that it’s not just about finding young people a safe and permanent home, but that we’re responsible for their general well-being — education included.”

Okay, so that’s taken a little out of context, the entire article and example of cutting edge journalism can be read here.

There is so much wrong here, where to start?  DCFS wasn’t aware how bad LA City schools are?  Not aware how LA city and county schools were failing our children and foster children in particular?  Didn’t reach out until very recently with a plan to assist foster teens to graduate and avoid being thrown out into the streets?

I wish the reporter Joel  Piasecki had delved a bit more deeply into these and other questions that presented themselves.  I’m not saying there is not a role for solution based journalism, but who is asking the tough questions?

Solutions beyond extolling success stories should include shedding light on the need for reform and exposure of malfeasance.  There is more than enough to go around.  And frankly, it is reporting that I just don’t see enough of.

Solutions include demonstrating when programs that cost tens of millions don’t work such as “Family Preservation,” considered by those in the know as a money-maker for minimally trained professionals and does little to actually keep families together or for children from ending up in the system.

DCFS is a multi-billion dollar program whose accountability needs to be called into question, and not just when a child like Viola Vanclief is killed, which is about the only time the LA Board of Supervisors gets into the act.  These are the same people minus Ridley Thomas that allowed MLK Hospital to fester and kill for decades.

By now we know the horrible statistics: A huge percentage of foster teens never graduate, end up homeless after ageing out of the system, and while in school are placed in special education classes at a rate many times higher than other children.

And now thank heavens, DCFS and social workers have learned they are responsible for the “…general well-being, – education included,” of foster children.

Actually, any social worker of worth has known the above.  Agency social workers in particular have epic fights with the public schools preventing throw away foster children from being placed into unnecessary special education classes, suspended without proper cause and having no parent to advocate on their behalf.

How would any child do if they were first abused, bounced around to an average of 4 homes and pulled from one therapist to another as they move from place to place?   How can we expect any different from a public school system that lets down such a high percentage of children?

So for the past year or 2, County officials have now understood that Foster Teens need help within the schools?  Our cup is now full!  Only the problem of course is cost.

The program mentioned in the article actually seems helpful and was funded with discretionary funds from Gloria Molina of $400,000.  Bravo!

The $400,000 is just a little bit more than the salaries from some of our illustrious double and triple dipping agency CEO’s for a single year.

CEO’s paid with tax dollars to work full-time in one county, who are also paid to run an agency with tax dollars to work full-time and run an agency in another county.  (Um…just because you fill out time cards doesn’t mean you are working 80 hours at two jobs and besides, as far as government work is concerned, “full time,” equals a single job and a single payday.  But alas as I am want to do, I quibble.

We have CEO’s and executives owning sex shops, another serially sexually harassing workers for years and trying to get the taxpayer to pick up the lawyer bill.  We have CEO’s double and triple dipping in various counties, psychiatrists working part-time being paid by their board member friends several hundred grand a year.  There is financial malfeasance all over the place and CEO’s who were forced out by the county allowed to mostly keep their ill-gotten gains.   And agency board members with their little deals helping their friends do the above and more year after year.

Does anyone think this is acceptable?  Do some of these CEO’s donate to particular candidates, or allow their agencies to be used as a political backdrop?  I’d love to hear some of your stories.

I think a lot of other people would.

Written by joshuaallenonline

July 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

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