Sunday, November 14, 2010

Starting tomorrow: Three days of L.A.

            Assuming news events don’t intervene, the next three days on this Blog will be devoted to foster care and family preservation in Los Angeles, and what happens when the child welfare agency and the loudest media voice both fail.

            Tomorrow: What Garrett Therolf of the Los Angeles Times won’t tell you about the evaluation of L.A.’s child welfare waiver.  For starters, you know how he keeps implying that the evaluation blames the waiver for an alleged increase in reabuse of children?  Three times, the evaluation itself emphasizes that the evaluators are doing no such thing.  And more recent data suggest that reabuse hasn’t increased after all.

            Tuesday: Why the director of the Department of Children and Family Services, Trish Ploehn, must go (and who should replace her).  You can’t run a giant child welfare agency from a bunker.

            Wednesday: The real lessons from the waiver evaluation.  The waiver has not compromised safety.  The real problem, I believe, is that it hasn’t done enough to curb needless foster care.  And the real lesson, as I see it, has to do with how the county’s foster care-industrial complex, its network of powerful private agencies, has tried to undermine reform at every turn.