Archive for the ‘Foster Care Salaries’ Category
Despicable Her: Jefferson Memorial Homes allows CEO 58% raise despite huge debt, missed payroll taxes, and a negative net worth.
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
Dr. Cecilla Jefferson, the founder and executive director of Fred Jefferson Memorial Home for Boys, received almost a 58% pay raise from the years 2009 to 2010.
The inordinate pay raise took place despite large operating losses, huge tax liabilities and negative net assets. The most recent county audit suggests the agency may not have a way to pay back their debts.
The executive directors salary increased from $126,000 to $199,215 in 2010. An increase of over 58%. Cecilia Jefferson’s salary in 2011, is listed as $180,284.
Yet, during this time period, Jefferson Homes had operating losses amounting to $240,000 and $84,359 respectively.
More concerning, Jefferson Memorial Homes had $630,997 in delinquent taxes, penalties and interest, from unpaid payroll taxes in 2006, and 2010.
For good measure, county auditors also documented $48K in unallowable expenses, and negative net assets amounting to $582,971.
“Since FJM had negative net assets and no reserves, it is unclear how the Agency will repay its liabilities or offset future operating losses.”
(Pg. 7 for salaries), And the auditors review of Jefferson’s fiscal operations dated March 13, 2013 is here.
On her linkedin page, Dr. Jefferson lists herself as the owner and CEO of Fred Jefferson Memorial Homes since 1989, and she has a PhD. In Social Clinical Psychology.
The question is this. How long can Jefferson Memorial Homes continue operating, when total liabilities are almost double its net assets?
And why did board members, as well as the executive director, acquiesce to such a large pay raise? Especially when this non-profit is managed so incompetently?
A large pay raise, totaling almost 60% from one year to the next. Isn’t that the last thing one should expect, after mismanaging a place into the ground?
As the summary of findings notes:
“We initially advised DCFS of FJM’s financial issues on December 23, 2011, so that DCFS could monitor FJM, and ensure that service quality is maintained.”
The Financial Corrective Action Plan (FCAP), makes note of two fundraisers the agency plans, as well as an “…in depth cost analysis with potential downsizing in staff and services.” While, “…ensuring the agency continues with an “adequate level of care.”
Foster children can breathe a sigh of relief…It’s what they have always wanted in life, an “…adequate level of care.”
But does anyone find this a bit obscene? Don’t places usually cut back, when liabilities are so large? Doesn’t any business or non-profit cut back, when their ability to survive is seriously in doubt, as documented by the county audit?
And from this, they want a fundraiser?
It is like a sinking ship, with everyone trying to get as much gold and treasure to dry land, before the agency…err boat, plunges down to certain death.
When the county makes temptation this easy, when the bar is so low, shouldn’t we still expect more from our ethical leaders? Even if it is not illegal? You can’t make this stuff up.
This is money for abused and neglected children. It adds up to quite a bit. And since when can you owe the IRS big time money like this, and still give yourself almost a 60% raise?
What’s the rationale? It’s my turn now?
Let us imagine the fundraiser. Because a fundraiser is one of FJM’s proposals for paying off their debts. View the self-congratulating speeches: The pleas for cash, all for the benefit of the “children!”
Watch the, oh so moving, fundraising presentation, by the ‘model,’ foster-teen, who is brought on stage to elicit a few tears, as she extols the spiritual aspects of charitable giving. We have all seen it.
Left unsaid at this fundraiser, the extra $193,000 paid over just 3 years, which went to the boss, (instead of the abused and neglected children), in the form of a raise.
And left unsaid at this fundraiser, the unpaid payroll taxes, penalties, unallowable expenses, and fines, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, which, according to the county, the agency “seems to have no way to pay back.”
That is, unless, you want to donate the extra half-million plus you may have gathering dust somewhere, in the back of your sock drawer?
So please, oh please, do it for the children. They are so desperately in need of our help.
Because it’s all about the children.
The second shoe has begun to drop, and it now appears that Teens Happy Homes will soon be closed. You can read about it here.
Garett Therolf continues to do stellar work on this story, and it is nice to see the media take an interest in the subject, and do the good investigative work necessary, to bring about a bit of improvement in the lives of the foster children, attached to this agency. This is important stuff.
However, as usual, at other suspect agencies, malfeasance alone, is not enough to warrant many words on the subject, or action by regulators. Or for that matter, action by law enforcement.
Malfeasance, must be accompanied by child deaths or significant injuries, before any action is taken, to bring some culprits to moderate justice.
An example of this can be seen with United Care, which was closed a few years ago. In one of the below recordings given to the Times, consultant Jorge Gutierrez, when speaking about Craig Woods and United Care, pointed out that it wasn’t the death of Viola Vanclief that caused United Care to be closed.
Rather it was Craig’s “stubbornness” in not paying back the bulk of the money, which the county said, had been illegally siphoned by a former employee. (Almost $250,000).
At United Care, an innocent toddler was murdered, before malfeasance warranted a heavy hand by the county, which shut down the agency.
Similarly, another agency was shut, fairly recently, accompanied by similar financial wreckage, payments to felons, and encompassed a plethora of creepy individuals, enough to turn one’s stomach.
However, in the case of this other agency, there wasn’t a lot of child welfare violations. This circumstance warranted minimal media attention, despite missing funds amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not sexy enough?
Things are different with Teens, but why did it take so long?
Part of the real story, is that Teens fiscal audit is not yet completed, after 3 years! Much of the information should have been acted upon, much earlier.
Sincere kudos, to Ms. Watanabe, who admitted county auditors dropped the ball with Teens. And yet, officials, and media, were warned, by this author and others, in 2010, regarding many similar allegations.
Malfeasance, as well as child welfare issues, at Teens, were continuously ignored.
Surely this garbage dump was an open secret. Social workers, current and previous staff members, must have stiff necks from looking the other way all the time.
Obviously at Teens, and quite clearly, one dare says, at other agencies, payment for minimal or nonexistent work, occurs with willful blindness, by staff, and regulaters. In some places, it is blatant.
Ask away! An arrow shall be pointed, (as continues to be done here), to obvious culprits. Yet, under these circumstances, how could child welfare not suffer?
There are good agencies. There are hard working social workers, who do such work with nobel intentions. There are wonderful foster parents, who save children’s lives.
All are tainted, by too many greedy, bad apples.
The warnings, are a broken record. And the guilty, attack the sources, who are afraid for their jobs, and have learned the hard way, that nothing will be done.
There will be no justice. Either for the cheated children, or the crooks. Nobody will face criminal charges, let alone be banned from working with abused and neglected children.
Are things different now? Can they be?
Teens Happy Homes: Contract discussed behind closed doors: Which Agency is Next to Crumble?
The Business of Child Abuse:
By Joshua Allen
We have been writing about Teens Happy Homes, and other agencies of concern for over 3 years. For 3 years we warned the county, and anyone else who would listen, that the system of audits in place are inadequate, and so weak, as to encourage malfeasance. Children’s welfare suffers when there is malfeasance. How can it be otherwise?
Foster Care Agencies have a Board of Directors. This Board is supposed to be supervising, the agencies care of abused and neglected children, and they also monitor an agencies finances. However, since board members are almost always friends and family, they do neither. And therefore, the children suffer, as they always have.
So it comes as no surprise, about today news. LA TIMES STORY
The County Board of Supervisors, is going through the motions, and finally considering closing Teens Happy Homes. This after years of warnings, destroyed financial records (which happened the same week as one of the audits), and the deaths of abused and neglected children.
“The routine audit of Teens in 2003 faced problems from the beginning. Shortly before auditors arrived, a sewage backup destroyed many financial records. The remaining documents painted a picture of financial chaos.”
One would think the above quote, which came from the Previous Times Story, would have caused a large red flag warranting significant attention. But that didn’t happen. And now, apparently, because of county incompetence, children are dead. There is no other way to put it.
One of the new proposals, by Zev Yaroslavsky, would be to hire 6 or 7 additional monitors to track agency finances. This is a good start.
Why has such an obvious partial solution taken so long? It is a question best asked, while pondering the thousand mile stare of sexually abused children.
Older foster kids know when money is being siphoned from its intended purpose. Go ask some of the kids – ask them what gifts they received for Christmas from their agency. One agency had no gifts for 2 out the past 3 years. This, while 3 staff members received almost 10% of the gross. Does that sound right?
Whistle blowers, who risk everything, including violence, feel betrayed, when they come forth and nothing happens. When officials throw up the hands and say, “…there is nothing I can do.”
There must be a cap on top salaries, perhaps in the $125,000 range? Especially when an agency has a gross below 6 or 7 million dollars. If foster care workers want to make more, perhaps the private sector is a more suitable solution, rather than toiling in the trenches.
The Agency Board of Directors must be unconnected to the CEO’s, who is answerable to them. Shouldn’t board members be people who do it only to contribute their time and energy towards helping abuse victims? Instead, we have boards made up of friends and family members, or employees of the agency, who police their own, and often, get little, under the table deals.
When auditors come, especially financial auditors, a practical idea would be to interview lower staff members, and do so in private. Auditors must see such individuals away from the prying eyes of the administration, who may be timing the interview, as they sit outside the door.
Shouldn’t whistle blowers have some form of protection, beyond getting a lawyer they can’t afford, and waiting years for any sort of resolution?
Administrators, directors, treasurers, and other 6 figure staff members must be able to prove they actually work full time, or something close to a 40-hour week. That is, proof, beyond silly time cards, which mean nothing in the scheme of things.
How many days and hours per week, can some of these guys be away from the office? Who holds them accountable? Their cousin Vinny? Dad?
Foster agency salaries, for the most part, are paid for by our taxes. These are not private foundations. This is part of the problem, because heads of these places, consider the non-profit agencies to be their personal businesses. And these agencies are not theirs to do with as they chose. Not when they take tax money to survive. They belong to us, and are accountable.
Finally, and most obvious: Why are foster parents, who hurt foster children, allowed to pop up somewhere else and do it all over again? This last part hurts, because we are big fans of foster parents, and consider it one of life’s toughest and most thankless jobs.
But the good ones don’t do it for “thanks.” And that is why, it is so egregious, when money is siphoned away. Because it is money that could be helping these children, rather than lining pockets.
Thank heavens for good foster parents, and good social workers, and supervisors. Because it is this group of people, beyond everyone else, except for foster children, who know how bad things can really be.
The Village Speaks For Itself or, (It Takes A Village to Take…)
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
We have long advocated for a cap on executive compensation in foster care. After all, one chooses to work in a non-profit which cares and nurtures abused and neglected children. If you want to be in the so called ‘one percent,’ maybe you should sell widgets, or become a lawyer. Nothing wrong with that…
Our question is this. How much is too much for individuals who choose to work with children whom have been beaten, raped, neglected and abused in a thousand other ways?
These are the toughest of economic times. Cut backs everywhere but here apparently. Now these guys do other stuff such as Wrap Around and some mental health stuff, but ..please lets’ not get started on Wrap Around!
And don’t forget, the below figures for 2 separate years don’t include the monetary value of benefits which must substantially add to the total. Therefore, should salaries and other compensation be reflective of an increase in revenue, as they often are in for-profit businesses?
We think not.
We believe things have gotten out of hand when almost a half million dollars (plus benefits) are paid to just 2 individuals. Exactly what do board members do beyond rubber stamp? This is a charity for heavens sake.
Suppose for example, you lopped off a couple hundred grand from this total and paid two other highly competent and ethical executives $300,000? I imagine that extra $200,000 per year would do a lot of good if applied towards such things such as tutors, mentors, dance and karate lessons, back packs, better Christmas gifts, and many, many things that could help abused and neglected children.
But what do I know.
* The complete tax forms can be found here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7lNozEv6JIEVGJtUlV1OFVWSms/edit and here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15PD_1yCJVIvcsxOLKB-w3-Jznlv1RSc7yxEJHlE0PSo/edit
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
A source close to America Care management has told us that the America Care main office in San Dimas was Raided by the FBI and served with a Search Warrant for accounting information and computers. Reportedly, computers were removed from the premises by authorities. The source also reported continued contact and inquiries with Homeland Security.
The FBI is involved because tax revenues for America Care, as such revenues are to all foster care agencies, are paid through federal money. Homeland Security apparently continues to be interested in the Ghost employee or employees. And yet we still shake our heads. Is any of this real?
It has gotten so bad for America Care executives that when they have any questions or concerns, and wish to contact the Department of Children and Family Services, they are referred to county council or basically, the lawyers representing the interests of DCFS. Nobody else from the county is apparently allowed to speak with anyone from America Care. Jeepers!
And that, is how serious this emerging scandal appears to be. We were told by our source that she/he expects indictments of some of the main players in the near future. That leads us to believe it will be for some type of yet to be determined financial malfeasance, (such as money laundering?) or as Gomer Pyle used to say… “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!
We would love to verify this with the county and or get the official side of things, but we can’t. Like America Care, all auditing inquires are being referred to the same county lawyer.
That a public taxpayer supported agency can hide behind lawyers and inapplicable confidentiality laws remains a travesty and mocks all of us. The secrecy on this and other issues has become so bad that the Los Angeles Times has initiated a lawsuit to obtain information illegally withheld from us by the county.
You can read about the suit here, although it is not particularly related to America Care. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0915-death-records-20110915,0,5104863.story It is indicative of the their attitude towards the release of information that may be embarrassing to DCFS and or other county employees.
The past week the administrator Alicia Ciriani (who we don’t believe had much to do with the actual finances beyond looking the other way) sent a letter to America Care foster parents telling them a contract has been signed and that America Care will now be merging with Masada foster agency.
This is beginning to be a pathetic pattern. Originally the agency was merging with Alliance, then we heard Child Net, and now it’s Masada. It reminds me of Groucho Marx saying he would never join a club that would let him in.
And we would like to know how an agency such as America Care which will cease to exist in a few weeks can sign any type of contract?
Further, foster parents are free to go wherever they want and many of them are accepting the direct and indirect financial enticements (such as a $1000 from Homes of Hope being offered to social workers) who are turning around and making their own arrangements with foster parents. Homes of Hope recently got off a do-not-refer list and are especially hungry according to our source. Eggelston is also actively involved with ‘recruitment,’ if you could call it that.
Oh, and Futuro Infantil Hispano continues to pay their top two executives Oma Velasquez-Rodriguez and Oliver Castelleno more than a half million dollars a year in salary and benefits. https://joshuaallenonline.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/corruption-at-its-finest2.png And we continue to have serious questions about how many hours per week Castelleno worked since many employees seemed to think he was mostly retired.
This “poaching,” of foster families by agencies is about one thing only. Money. And while this is not a particularly astute observation, it is a pathetic one when considering this is all about the treatment and care of Abused and Neglected children.
We believe the only enticement a Foster Care Agency should be allowed when it comes to recruiting/stealing foster families from other agencies is a informational pitch or presentation to the foster parents showing them what a good job the new perspective agency does in helping Abused and Neglected children and the type of caring and diligent support they can offer the foster parents in helping the children.
You’ll excuse me if I leave to wash my hands.
* * *
We’ll keep trying to nail this down. And thanks to all for your support. We are deeply grateful.
We Now Know the Value of an Abused Child; $1000 dollars: Homes of Hope and America Care Foster Agency
We Now Know the Value of an Abused Child: $1000 dollars: Homes of Hope and America Care
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
Some America Care foster parents have received an interesting call from a social worker looking to leave and who hopes to bring the foster family over to Homes of Hope/West Covina Foster family agencies.
Homes of Hope/West Covina Foster agencies are essentially the same, featuring the same 6 figure salaried double dipping CEO Sukhwinder Singh. We will have more to say about Homes of Hope and Ms. Singh soon, as well as their financials.
But back to the interesting calls:
Briefly, America Care foster family agency is losing their contract by the end of October, and the mostly absent and highly paid executives are doing everything they can to salvage their jobs and a large portion of their salaries by joining or merging with another agency rumored to be a place called Child Net foster agency.
One can only wonder what deals our mostly absent executives are trying to negotiate which would entice Child Net to maintain the nefarious trio in the lifestyle ‘to which they have become accustomed.’
Any agency will have to balance the dynamic trio soiled reputations, and decide if the embarrassing odor is worth the positive balance sheet, since as we know, embarrassing odor attracts flies, or in this case, county auditors. (Are you listening Child Net)?
Uh…But back to the interesting calls.
What the America Care foster parent has told us is that Homes of Hope/West Covina Foster Agency has offered social workers $1000 dollars if they could get the foster families (including the abused children) to come to the new agency, and this particular foster care social worker has offered to split this money with the foster parent who contacted us.
$500 dollars each!
Not a bad deal. Heck, what’s one agency over another? Suki (Homes of Hope) must really be feeling the satisfaction since others report that America Care and Homes of Hope originally had some type of family blood connection until the Caine and Able split.
So we ask as before, where is the county in this unseemly trash heap? Because when it comes to the care of abused and neglected children, the free market has only one role period.
And that is to help repair the lives of the abused children; to repair their damaged world; to somehow make it more livable. And this is clearly not the case.
But it’s all good, and it’s not about money of course. Homes of Hope is said to be offering financial incentives to social workers, to bring foster parents to them, because of their abundance of love and assistance they can offer the children.
You see it’s all about the children.
* * * *
We are still trying to find out exactly what precipitated the Counties decision to pull the contract from America Care. What we cannot understand or abide is that this appears to be a secret.
It is our money, and as near as we can tell there are no applicable rules of confidentiality that must protect children.
We suspect it may have something to do with the Ghost employee. We really must wonder if we were too quick to dismiss the link with Homeland Security as dumbstruck as this seems.
Bankruptcy, loans and promissory notes, the invisible man – is any of this stuff real?
The County clearly is afraid they will be sued so we are left to our own devices, which, for want of a better word – stinks. And this is the one constant. They don’t want a misstep. They don’t want to be sued.
Maybe it’s the simplest thing, simple cruddy malfeasance. If that is the case, tell us … Just tell us.
We remind the County, this is a public contract, using public monies, it’s our money.
And neither the County nor America Care are exempt from public transparency and audit. And we want to know, we demand quite frankly, how come this agency is being forced to close? And who is hiding what?
This was published a bit over a year ago and we probably should have included it with the previous post. The link and brief commentary below refers to the 2009 County Audit of America Care and as always we will try to find out more information and keep you informed. You can find the complete audit at the link.
The case of America Care:
“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?…”
Oh, and we are still trying to find out more on the Invisible Man…