The cases mentioned, that of one where a child hung themselves with a jump rope and another where a child was beaten to death, illustrate the depth of the institutional reforms that are needed to revitalize the county’s Department of Children and Family Services.
In the case of 11-year old Jorge Tarin, who told his middle school counselors that he wanted to kill himself for beatings he received at home, the social worker who responded to the case did not have one of the department’s tablet computers. Had the worker had the computer, he or she could have identified the boy’s step father, who had been banned from the home after being assessed as a high risk. In the other case, that of 2-year old Deandre Green, a social worker never actually met with the child, because the address was illegible, causing the county’s employee to repeatedly go to the wrong home.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Persistent management lapses and a poor use of technology continue to hobble Los Angeles County’s child welfare system, and two high-profile child fatalities from last year have been newly tied to the breakdowns, according to records and interviews.
A special counsel acting for the Board of Supervisors has found that despite pledges to fix the problems, social workers still do not fully retrieve and evaluate case files electronically during home inspections. Not enough equipment is available, officials contend, and it often doesn’t work.
Read the full article here.