Archive for August 2011
For Sale to Humanity: 30,000 Foster Children.
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
We have written several times during the past year about the moral and ethical violations which we believe occur by executives and administrators of many of the Foster Agencies who litter the landscape of Los Angeles like so many angles hiding behind pretenses of nobility and decency.
We can write one thousand, several thousand, – heaven knows a book – about the cheap and sordid behaviors that continue in the name of “…saving the children.” However, we know it’s about egotism and enrichment.
The formula as previously stated goes something like this:
We shall reasonably care for the abused and neglected children in our care, and avoid any rule violations in our foster homes. In return we shall be free to run our agencies as we choose, justifying expenditures of taxpayer money without too much scrutiny from auditors or politicians who will suffer should the extent of our malfeasance becomes generally known.
After all, no child is being harmed… and the government has tons of money, why shouldn’t I get mine? It is a special type of arrogance common among many top Foster Agency heads which includes a belief that they are exempt from normal rules and ethics when it comes to the care of abused and neglected children.
So let’s get to the point. It’s all public information after all. One only needs look. And remember this below non-profit agency is almost entirely funded through tax dollars. By no means is it a private business. And that is why these documents are so easily available.
The complete 2009 tax return for Futuro Infantil Hispano foster family agency is here:
This small excerpt below speaks volumes:
Salaries for non-profits should be perhaps %1.5 of revenue so something here is quite out of whack, and not uncommon as future articles will show.
Of special interest are the yearly salaries of Oma Velasco-Rodriguez. In 2009 Oma Velasco-Rodriguez paid herself almost a quarter million dollars plus benefits. ($248,230) And Oliver Castelleno paid himself $169,671. I use the terms “…paid his and herself for a reason. Both these individuals are on the Futuro Infantil Hispano Board of Directors that determines their pay and benefits. The rest of the Board is made of other friends and cronies and we truly doubt that the Mrs. Velasco-Rodriguez and Mr. Castelleno recused themselves when the compensation committee met, but such semantics really don’t matter.
For one thing, many employees seem to think that Mr. Castelleno has been mostly retired for several years. We can find nobody who works at Futuro Infantil Hispano (and we spoke to several) who says they saw him at the office during the time of this tax return for more than a few hours a week.
A few hours a week for almost $ 200,000 dollars! This does not particularly prove anything of course, maybe he did a lot of work at home and attended many important conferences and meetings during this time, and that adds up to the 40 hours a week that is listed on the tax form.
Now compare for example, the salary of Mrs. Velasco-Rodriguez with that of Serenity Director Linda Kontis, (pg. 7)
the dedicated and prescient executive who practically begged the court not to return a child back to the parents who it appears now, will most likely be charged with murdering her.
Ms. Kontis earns a salary that is around a quarter of Mrs. Velasquez-Rodriguez and she also has an advanced degree which, should this be a private business mean little if the job gets done, but this is not a private business, and involves the care and treatment of abused and neglected children.
And many of these agencies are run by individuals who hold only a high school diploma and so they must farm out a job below them to somebody who holds an advanced degree and will acquiesce to various machinations and deals with board members and others in the community.
Lastly, Serenity does have only about a third of the revenue of Futuro Infantil Hispano, and if this were a private business, this would mean something.
But it is not a private business, and we believe the taxpayer would receive the same services provided by Mrs. Velasquez and Mr. Castelleno for about a third of the almost half million dollars they receive yearly from county funds.
If we allow this to continue at Futuro Infantil Hispano and several other agencies, what else will we allow?
Does anybody really care?
(The post below is a recapitulation of the above but does add a bit of pertinent information)
Take a look at this image. It is page 7 from the 2009 tax returns from a modest sized foster agency called Futuro Infantil Hispano located in West Covina California. You will notice the salary of one person earning as much or more than the head of the entire Child Protective System. The salary of another, apparently goes to a man who is mostly retired but still earns close to $200,000 per year. Monies meant for the care of abused and neglected children. It is wrong, it is unethical, and it continues. What else will we allow if we let this continue year after year?
The entire 2009 tax return can be seen here: We will post some of the more egregious examples from various agencies in the coming days.
There are several things terribly wrong here:
1. The first is that we cannot find a single person (and believe me we asked) who can say that they saw Oliver Castellanos in either of the two Futuro Infantil Offices for more than a few hours per week during the time outlined by this tax return. Indeed, the employee consensus seems to be that he has been semi-retired for the past several years. I guess Mr. Castellanos works a lot from home to earn close to 2 hundred grand when everything is added up. ($200,000)
2. Total salaries based on revenue for a non-profit should not be more than about 1. 5%. However, this is close to what Oma Velasco-Rodriguez earns individually, or something close to a quarter million dollars (plus considerable benefits) is almost 5%! Are we missing something here? Remember this is all about the care and treatment of abused and neglected children. At this agency, we have well over a half million dollars per year for just 3 individuals. And other years are pretty much the same thing which add up fast.
3. An agency the size of Futuro Infantil should have about $20,000 to $30,000 of mileage expenses based on average travel of Foster Care Social Workers to and from foster homes. Therefore I am very curious what the estimated $109,000 for travel expenses is all about. A good agency will further have one or at most 2 company cars (usually vans) to assist with various transportation needs. However, this is a one time expense and still raises troubling questions since travel expenses year to year seem fairly consistent and frankly, out of whack.
4. Here is a link for an agency called Serenity, which we believe is being administered properly and takes to heart the best interests of the children. It is an interesting study in contrast with tax return of Futuro Infantil Hispano, and although Serenity represents revenues of only about a third of Futuro, they boast a salary structure for top administrators, as well as for overall expenses, which is appropriately well in line with non-profit norms and best practices. And it is important to note that just because Serenity has about one-third the revenue of Futuro Infantil, that doesn’t mean that salaries at Futuro should be triple those you see here. And basically, they are.
This is the link: Oh, and should you be inclined, which agency would you donate too?
5: Salaries at Foster Family Agencies are determined by board members. At least two of the above individuals at Futuro Infantil Hispano sit on the very board which determines their annual pay. Cronies and Employees together, as members of the Board setting salaries, setting policy, getting wealthy.
All at the expense of Abused and Neglected Children. Does anybody really care?