Persistent backlog in L.A. County child abuse probes has led to a crisis, report says

A persistent backlog of child abuse investigations in Los Angeles County has led to a “crisis,” with four in 10 open inquiries stretching beyond the state’s two-month deadline, according to the county chief executive’s office.

In a further indication of the problems faced by the county’s Department of Children and Family Services, Chief Executive William T Fujioka said in a report released this week that shifting workers to combat the delays “appears to be slowly creating a back-end crisis,” depleting resources for other critical tasks. Among the duties handled by back-end workers in the department are foster care placements and home visits.

The assessment by the county chief executive’s office is the most detailed analysis to date by county officials of the backlog of cases—which involve more than 10,000 children according to recent figures—in the troubled department. The findings contradict department Director Trish Ploehn’s statement earlier this year that the longer inquiries have resulted in higher quality child abuse investigations. The report, distributed to county supervisors last month, was not released until The Times appealed to County Counsel Andrea Ordin.

“The county’s high [child abuse investigations] backlog appears to be contributing to poor outcomes in the [child abuse investigations] unit,” the chief executive’s report said.

Written by Garrett Therolf. To read the full article, click here.

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