Posts Tagged ‘Teens Happy Homes’
Teens Happy Homes contract terminated.
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
The county supervisors have voted to terminate the contract of Teens Happy Homes. The closure of the corrupt agency, has been inevitable since the first Times article appeared weeks ago.
The highlight from the Times investigation were the transcripts, and actual audio excerpts,which were secretly recorded 3 years earlier, in 2010, by Askari Moyenda. The recordings, memorandum of understanding, and links to the audit, have previously been posted.
What is new, and which will be linked here, is a copy of the deposition of Beautina Robinson by Mr. Moyenda.
The deposition, which took place on August 28, 2012, is a bit tedious, especially since Ms. Robinson seems to be the only one represented by counsel.
But it does open a window into the type of individual written about here, and elsewhere, which sully the image of foster care in Los Angeles.
In the deposition, we learn that Ms. Robinson didn’t know if the county prohibited solicitations for personal gain,. Also, she doesn’t recall if she received nearly $10k personally.
She can’t recall when she got a check for almost $10k? … Huh?
Actually, Ms. Robinson says, “I don’t recall,” so frequently throughout the deposition, that one wonders what she actually did remember.
Robinson couldn’t recall for example, when she was asked what the qualifications were, when she became an executive director of a foster agency.
On another question, Ms. Robinson noted, that she learned that selling a non-profit was illegal, “During the process of this.”
Other enlightening tidbits, have to do with the qualifications of sitting board members, (presumably proof of life).
Near the end of the deposition, there is a long, twisted and rambling question and answer session, about what Ms. Robinson considers to be fraudulent, lying, misleading and misrepresentative, when she is communicating with board members.
Finally, towards the end of this confusing repartee, Mr. Moyenda asks:
Question: “Okay. Would you consider it fraud if you –if an administrator –if an executive –chief executive officer misled the board on the amount of donation that was given, would you consider that fraudulent?”
Answer: “I refuse to answer that.”
We found it a bit more confusing (if that is possible), when Ms. Robinson was asked about her education. She went to Oakwood Academy College, …”went to Indiana University and took some classes,” and has an “honorary doctorate degree.”
Then, the following questions and answers ensues:
Question: “Slow down. So you have what? I’m sorry?”
Answer: “An honorary doctorate degree.”
Question: “What does that mean?”
Answer: “Just what I said.”
Question: “I don’t know what that means.”
Answer: “Well I don’t either.”
Question: “Is that related to any education? Is the honorary degree related to any education?”
Answer: “Humanities. I have a doctorate in humanities.”
At this point, Mr. Moyenda seems to be trying to get Ms. Robinson to state the honorary degree is useless. Things ramble a bit, until he asks…
Question: “Okay. So there was no educational attachment to that honorary degree? Yes or no?”
Answer: “I don’t recall.”
Not exactly the Supreme court, or even Matlock, but one hopes the gist comes through.
There is a lot more, and it is a worthwhile read, if for no other reason then to highlight the lack of professionalism and utter incompetence we allow, by the people who run these places. For that alone, the plaintiff has clearly done us a service.
One doubts however, the “pound of flesh,’ even when served cold, will bring much peace.
It is ironic that a foster child, whose entire life fits inside a plastic garbage bag, could shoplift a $50 IPOD, and get booked, fingerprinted, photographed, and tossed into jail.
Yet when previous corruption was exposed, similar, and in some cases much worse than the goings on at Teens Happy Homes, there was nothing more than a slap on the wrist to the perpetrators.
Currently, there are agencies in Los Angeles County, with similar proclivities. Should there be no legal consequences for perpetrators, then crooked executives from other agencies, will know the only thing risked, is to be shut down.
Monies need not be paid back or returned, and there will be no incarceration, regardless of the extent of the malfeasence.
Money meant for abused and neglected children has been siphoned. This requires justice. For the children, and for us, the taxpayers. Such malfeasance is a bit more rare these days, but still not unusual with foster care agencies.
A couple agencies come to mind immediately.
Financial corruption invites mistreatment, in one form or another, towards foster children. Such corruption, over time, often ends with a foster child dying.
There is a correlation.
It has happened time, and time again – and shall coninue to happen all too frequently, unless we make changes with honest appraisal.
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?