Report 2011-101.2 Recommendations and Responses in 2015-041

Report 2011-101.2: Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services: Management Instability Hampered Efforts to Better Protect Children

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2014-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services 3 9 4 3 3

Recommendation To: Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services

To ensure that child abuse and neglect allegations receive timely resolution, the department should assess whether it needs to permanently allocate more resources to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect.

Response

As of September 2015, DCFS hired 1,082 Children's Social Workers. This surpassed its initial hiring goal of 450 new Children's Social Workers. DCFS will continue its hiring efforts in order to address attrition and fill vacancies. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an additional 500 positions for the budget year starting July 1, 2015. DCFS expects to reach full caseload equity as soon as possible. As many of the new hires complete training and slowly build to full caseload capacities, DCFS will continue to fill caseload equity needs in ER sections in the highest need offices. ER caseload averages remain below the caseload average of 18 with the exception of the four peak referral months. The target goal remains the same with ER caseloads of 18 across all offices.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: Fall 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services

To ensure that it is placing children only in safe homes, the department should measure its performance and adjust its practices to adhere to state law, which requires that all homes be assessed prior to the placement of the child.

Response

DCFS continues to believe it is operating within the applicable laws governing this issue as cited in past responses. As an update, the Department is also exploring the possibility of contracting out aspects of the home assessment process and is working with the State in planning for the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process, which all counties are required to implement by January 2017. The RFA process will provide one assessment for approval of foster homes, relative/NREFM caregivers, legal guardianship and adoption.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services

To improve its process for placing children with a relative, the department should analyze the best practices used by other county child welfare services agencies for such placements. The department should then implement changes in its practices so that relatives and their homes are approved prior to placement, as required by state law.

Response

As noted in past responses, DCFS has analyzed the processes of five adjacent counties and has not found LA County's practice to be materially different from other counties. However, the Department is also working with the State in planning for the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process, which all counties are required to implement by January 2017. The RFA process is expected to result in all counties having greater uniformity in placement approval practices.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: September 2015

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2015-041