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

Children Services Fail – DCFS Discovers New Way to Reduce Fatalities: Less Reporting

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Children Services Fail – DCFS Discovers New Way to Reduce Fatalities: Less Reporting

The Business of Child Abuse

By Joshua Allen

Article first published as Children Services FAIL: DCFS Discovers New Way to Reduce Fatalities; Less Reporting on Technorati.

Another day in the business of child abuse. The LA Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has discovered a new way to reduce the amount of child fatalities associated with it during the past year. They have narrowed the criteria of what constitutes abuse and neglect.

Like Clinton splitting hairs about what “it,” means. The department is now redefining what it means to die by abuse and neglect.

It’s like magic! Report fewer fatalities from abuse and neglect, and fewer deaths blot the good name of the department.

While we are not in Goebbels territory (yet), it’s still pretty creepy.

This new interpretation constitutes a wonderful service for children (not) and it works for the department, too. Sadly it doesn’t work for the rest of us, or the dead children.

Garett Therolf of the LA Times, who is just about the only journalist in Los Angeles writing critically about DCFS these days, quotes LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky who said;

“I think the department has an interest in minimizing the number of cases that they put on the …list because, frankly, it makes them look better.” Oh yes indeed!

While the other County Supervisors are intent on finding out who leaked information regarding fatalities associated with the department to the LA Times, Yaroslavsky again put his neck on the line when he said what everybody else is thinking.

As an example of the new policy, eleven-year old Jorge Tarin who hung himself with a jump rope after two separate interviews with social workers, was not included in the most recent tally of child deaths associated with the department. The rationale appears to be because he did not die from abuse or neglect.

Yet just that day he had reported to school officials that he was “…tired of people hitting me all the time.”

This is a department of 6,500 individuals, just a third less personnel than the Los Angeles police department, which over the years has been subject to federal scrutiny, a consent decree and the Christopher commission.

The secretive nature of DCFS, in contrast to the police, is instructive of what happens when public audit and scrutiny is limited to a few self-serving politicians and officials who use the department and information they choose to disclose for political ends.

While talk of reforming the department remains ongoing, it reminds one of the endless conversations in the press and by the same County Supervisors (except for Ridley Thomas who was recently elected) of the decades long conversation about what to do about MLK Hospital.

And that solution was to close the place.

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Written by joshuaallenonline

August 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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