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

The Death of Jorge Tarin: DCFS FAIL?

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The Death of Jorge Tarin: DCFS FAIL?

The Business of Child Abuse.

By Joshua Allen

Sometimes the wrong call is just that, an accident, it could happen to anyone.  And sometimes a wrong call is because of fatigue, a lack of information, bad policy or all three.  Without knowing the facts, we can’t make a true assessment of what happened when Jorge Tarin hung himself several weeks ago.  As excerpted in the Times report:

“Just hours earlier, Los Angeles County mental health and child abuse investigators had visited the drab apartment building to examine 11-year-old Jorge Tarin. He had told a school counselor that day that he wanted to kill himself. After speaking to Jorge privately, the county workers left.”

And:

“Although county workers had visited Jorge in disheveled homes since his infancy — noting drugs, violence and neglect in the households — the complete history was not available to the officials who interviewed him that day. Without remote access to the department’s computer system, the social worker at the scene was unable to fill in some blanks that may have changed the decision to leave Jorge at the home.”

You can read the full article here: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-child-death-20100725,0,939247.story

The facts are tragic and pathetic, and represent a breakdown in the very system designed to protect our children.  Clearly there is fault, there is guilt.  It is the “who,” which represents the complication.  This is not an easy call beyond whatever culpability exists with the parents.

Assigning blame to the DCFS investigator who left the troubled adolescent in the home is too easy and possibly, not fair.  However clearly he/she made the wrong call.

What we know now is the investigator did not have sufficient information, was unable to, or could not use the expensive tablet computers with a modem to connect to the DCFS network.  And therefore they did not have information regarding the stepfather’s previous record, or the history of allegations towards the home, birth parents and step-father.

Further, the second investigator had little information regarding what was said during the interview with Jorge at the school.

You see; the majority of Tablets and wireless modems that may have been used to access information regarding the step-father continue to sit unused, either because of training difficulties, workers refusal to use this new technology (that is if you could call 3-year-old computers “new technology”) or a lack of funds allocated to fully implement the necessary infrastructure.  I take the easy route and tend to go with all three.

The result was a dead child.  Beyond the referenced article, we now know that Jorge was treated differently than other children in the home, being made to sleep on a sofa for example instead of having his own bed.  Nothing new here I suppose, Cinderella also was treated differently from her half siblings. Only it’s not a fairytale.

No happy endings here.  Just calls for audits and heads to roll by the usual suspects.  Jorge had originally been in foster care for 15 months and then returned home about 2 year back during a time when DCFS was keeping children out of foster care at a record rate.

This policy saved money and answered critics claims that Los Angeles was putting too many children into foster care.  I suspect the nonsense program of Family Preservation had a role at one point or anther too.  And as far as “saving money,” goes, remember, the budget is almost the same amount of billions of dollars only with about a third of as many children placed into foster care.

Does anyone believe we are getting more services for our dollars?  That money is going somewhere.  Knock knock, administrators, apparatchiks, SEIU, anybody home?

Now DCFS in a temporary change in policy refuses to discuss child fatalities connected to the department with reporters in a misguided attempt to circle the wagons.  All on advice of lawyers of course.

The party line changed the next day when a different lawyer attempted to walk this back, but yes, we get the message.   It’s the era of transparency right?  And little information continues to be forthcoming.

To our utter shame as a society, many children and teens interviewed by social workers say they want to die at one time or another.  Red-flag-city every time too.  Nobody plays around with this.    Yet in the end it is always a judgment call.  It has to be.  There is no cookie cutter solution.

The school did the correct thing. (As far as this single issue of notifying DCFS)  They called the hotline and reported it.  A mental health social worker came out, interviewed Jorge but let him go home on the bus.

There were enough concerns however that the department sent another investigator out to interview the young man at home.  But as seen above, this last investigator didn’t have all the information to make a proper assessment.

If we had a nickel for every therapist who wishes they had done it differently, who had this happen to them…it is about as common as getting through your entire career as a lawyer or doctor without being on the wrong end of a malpractice suit.  It happens.

The second DCFS investigator went in there half blind, perhaps tired and at the end of their shift, and now a child is dead.

The parents?…We will have to let a higher power deal with whatever role they had concerning their moral culpability.  Social workers or for that matter therapists don’t use the word “moral,” too often during their day to day business.

But we know it when we see it.

Joshuaallenonline.com

Joshuaallenonline@gmail.com

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Written by joshuaallenonline

August 11, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I need someone to reach out to me to help me get my children back from DCFS….Last Dec my 15 year old daughter commited suicide because the socials workers Debra Jones @ the Wateridge office in Los Angeles worked along with referee Sheri Sorbel @ Eldemans Children court in Monterrey Park,Ca and the most evil foster parent on earth Ms. Linda Torrance of Los Angeles, CA adopt my 3 daughters and my oldest Re’Ann Cox wanted to be with me and was told by Ms. Torrance that she wouldnt see me until she was 18 and no matter how much she cried she was not allowed to have contact with me she along with my other 4 children that she also beat with back scratchers and tortured. My daughter in one last attempt begged and pleaded with Ms. Torrance to let her have contact with me was denied and she gather her brothers and sisters together and told them it was too painful for her to live without me and aplolgized to them and took a overdose and died….Can somebody please help me. When my daughter died DCFS removed my kids out of Ms. Torrances home and there was a hearing and then a few months later they were returned back. They only way my family and I were allowed @ my daughters funeral was that my mother had to pat for her burial. Somebody plz email ericajbaxter69@yahoo.com if u have any suggestions for me to get help in getting my children back

    Sincerly,
    Erica J Baxter

    ERICA

    October 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  2. In second grade,Jorge was my very best friend.My older sister and I walked him home every day.My sister nick-named him “Little Man”.I go to the school he went to before his death.He was a very kind,sweet-hearted person.We stopped talking alot once we got to third grade.I switched schools in fourth and we met again in fifth.I asked him if he remembers me and my sisters nick-name for him.He remembered and he seemed happy i remembered him too.I always will.He’s a huge part of me.He was a great best friend.Always will be. R.I.P Jorge “Little Man” Tarin.Love you

    Marissa Rodriguez

    February 26, 2011 at 1:26 am


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