Last week the interim director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the agency responsible for child welfare for the county, resigned, according to The Daily News article, Acting head of DCFS resigns, lone candidate for job withdraws. Meanwhile the only other applicant for the job has dropped out of the race. L.A. paper, the Daily Breeze reports the interim director resigned in defiance of the County Supervisors, in Acting DCFS head resigns in defiance of supervisors.
It appears that the DCFS, an agency with a troubled history for children being seriously injured and dying in foster care, is having a difficult time finding a new director to take over. Former interim director, Antonia Jimenez, apparently resigned after refusing to sign an agreement with the Board of Supervisors to agree to cooperate with a new unit created to investigate abuses, neglect and death of children in the care of DCFS. This new unit, the Children’s Special Investigation Unit, will report directly to the Board. (A description of the lead attorney position for this unit can be found HERE.)
According to the Supervisors, Jimenez was the only holdout of the nine other departments who signed the agreement. I appears the culture of secrecy and silence is alive and well within DCFS. Jimenez offered only one possible replacement to the Board and the Board chose not to offer him the position.
According to Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, Los Angeles’ DCFS has had six permanent and acting directors over the past 15 years. When the county will find a replacement to take on the challenge of reforming this huge mess of a department, and who will assume that task, is to be seen.
Lauren K Johnson is a parent’s rights attorney in Southern California, handling juvenile dependency cases in the trial court and on appeal. Contact us to discuss your matter today.