FOR “UNETHICAL PRACTICES”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 5, 2013) — For approximately eight months, The Post & Email reported on the Henderson family, which was torn apart as a result of an altercation with the Pasadena, CA Police Department, their former landlord, and the subsequent involvement of the Los Angeles Department of Child & Family Services DCFS).
While the family was hopeful of reunification, which is the stated goal of the agency whenever possible and safe for the children, the last we knew, the seven children remained in three different foster homes, the parents had separated under pressure from a Juvenile Court judge, and neither had any visitation with the children at all. The negative turn of events occurred after Mrs. Henderson enjoyed two successful and happy overnight visits with all of her children.
Earlier this year, the California General Assembly resolved to take action to investigate overreaching child welfare agencies after a five-month-old Sacramento baby was seized from its parents without a warrant or probable cause that he had been abused or neglected. The story made national headlines, and it was determined that “Baby Sammy” should return to the full custody of his parents soon thereafter.
Two months ago, an eight-year-old boy with an open case with Los Angeles DCFS died as a result of severe injuries he received at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend.
Problems within the Los Angeles DCFS were also examined in 2012. Other Los Angeles families have also been separated for no apparent reason, and media reports from years ago suggested that children are placed in the foster care system for profit.
In May, The Post & Email contacted the state legislators spearheading this year’s resolution and related the story of the Hendersons at a time when a review was about to begin to decide which three county agencies would be audited.
A report in The Los Angeles Times detailing the negligent deaths of dozens of children between 2007 and 2010 under the purview of DCFS reportedly is part of a more complete list of “hundreds.” The Times claims that a “Flawed county system lets children die invisibly.”
DCFS Interim Director Philip Browning arrived in 2011 after the last four directors had resigned or been terminated, all within the period of one year. Problems at DCFS have been cited by The Los Angeles Times
Browning himself states that when it is “safe,” children will be reunified with their parents. Browning wants to hire an additional 1,100 new social workers to handle the agency’s 35,000-child caseload, but budget constraints allow for only 100.
Complaints about DCFS’s failure to act to protect reportedly abused children are numerous; however, Public Affairs Director Armand Montiel told The Post & Email during an interview that he believed that DCFS “does its job well.”
The Hendersons have reported injuries and sexual abuse of their children to DCFS social workers without result.
The following letter was sent in response to Browning’s call for additional social workers.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.