When children are taken from their family home by DCFS and placed in the state’s care, the state is entrusted with everything about their care: their safety, security, shelter, and education. The state is vested legal authority to parent these children. All of these children are alleged to have been subject to abuse and neglect at the hands of their parents or caretakers. They have been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. They have been neglected. Some have been seriously injured. All have faced trauma. As a result, the state, in theory, sweeps in to provide them the childhood they deserve.
But how much better is the state at parenting children than their own parents? Many times, far worse.
Los Angeles County, Orange County’s neighbor to the north, has struggled for years with a foster care problem. There are so many children in the system, few resources, high case loads and poor management at DCFS. The result is that children die in this system. There have historically been cover-ups as DCFS fights for “confidentiality,” purportedly for the children but also for their own actors. (I have previously written about the need for an end to this secrecy here and here.)
One prime example is L.A. County’s foster center that houses teens on an emergency basis. Touted as a great refuge for teens who have no placement only 2 years ago, that center today is now every foster child’s nightmare. Reports show that children are routinely recruited by other foster youth into prostitution at the center and social workers admit they have no control over what happens there. Without adequate facilities for their care, foster youth are more often than not staying there far in excess of the state’s mandate of 24 hours. This place is a nightmare. The state has sued the county over it!
According to, the Los Angeles Times, a panel has determined that the center needs to close immediately. It’s about time. “The current situation is unacceptable for children already traumatized by abuse and neglect,” the report stated. I am confident the Board of Supervisors will agree.