Fifth District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich released a statement Thursday regarding the confidential attorney-client report that was ordered in 2012 by the Board of Supervisors to investigate child fatalities and child endangerment cases within the Department of Children and Family Services.
“The response was a result from a story that was released –[by the LA Times]–” said Tony Bell, Communications Deputy to Antonovich.
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The Confidential report, dated Apr. 16, 2012, from the Childrens Special Investigation Unit (CSIU) that was leaked to the L.A. Times found disturbing facts that “Front End” Investigation Failures, lack of communication, defective human resource management and poor decision making tools/strategies contributed to the deaths of 15 children, as young as two months old to 18 years old, in the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS.)
“With the ordering of this report, the Board appointed a new director, Phillip Browning, who has been working to correct these failed policies. However, Browning’s hands have been tied by union and civil service rules,” said Supervisor Atonovich.
“Last year, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reform the civil service rules and we have directed the CEO to make recommendations on changing the union rules.”
The CSIU reports suggests that as a child welfare and protection agency the DCFS should operate as a with a “zero-tolerance” policy for failure. A complete overhaul of the DCFS as recommended “should consider a new approach to the recruitment training and retention of ‘front end’ workers,” as well as “streamlining policy and decision making tools” so that workers would not have to use policy “fill the void of competent supervision.”
“This report is a look into the rear view mirror at a troubled period in the department history, reaching as far back as 2008 in some cases. A number of these cases have already been widely reported and discussed in public,” said Philip Browning, Director of the DCFS.
“I have been well aware of the problems discussed in the Times story, particularly the need to improve the training and performance of our emergency response investigators. I have taken concrete steps to correct them – for the past year, as your new director, it has been my charge, and my priviledge to guide those efforts moving forward,” Browning added.
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Article Source: Santa Clarita News