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. please email this letter to that address
Public Opposition to Strategic Plan 7/25/13 This letter is to serve as a public opposition to the Strategic Plan created by Philip Browning on 7/25/13. His Request for an additional 1400 CSW’s should not be fulfilled until re-training and licensing by the state of California for CSW’s is obtained. When the consideration for additional workers has risen, it has also been requested by the public they are by contract, not union. In light of as many as 15 child deaths, many under this director Philip Browning; it is clear he is not correcting issues, tending to disciplinary actions of CSW’s failing to protect children but instead protects CSW’s who fail to follow procedure and laws. It is further requested his duration as the acting Director of Children and Family Service is Terminated and an investigation by the county for “Insider Trading” is requested. If the County of Los Angeles fails to tend to this matter, the public will seek a Grand Jury to remedy issues the County has fallen negligent in handling, such as the Best Interest of Children and Families- CAL. WIC. CODE § 366.26 It is a travesty that when criminal history reports are gathered by CSW’s the reflection of assistance is apparent on this report- CLETS- this is a practice of Class Disparity, and should be seen as discriminatory acts and a human rights violation under the color of law. It is respectfully requested that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to terminate- for the safety of the general public, children, foster children, and biological family members; Director, Philip Browning from any position from Los Angeles County, and charges sought for unethical practices. If the Board fails to address the concerns of the Public, the Fair Political Practice Commission will be notified of such negligence, and the proposal for unseating/recall will be sought by the public. Respectfully Concerned Member of the Public, _____________________________________ 8/5/13

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