Teens R Us - Foster Children for Sale
The Business of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen
For the second time in as many weeks, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors will attempt to close Teens Happy Homes.
The vote had been originally scheduled for the previous week. However supervisor Ridley Thomas tabled the vote, and had a closed-door session, apparently discussing legal ramifications should the Board of Supervisors close the agency.
Such a concern is not without merit. Teens has learned a lot over the years. There is George Gutierrez, who is the management consultant heard on the secret recordings of the board meeting in 2010. He brought considerable expertise, and knowledge to Teens management.
Years ago, Gutierrez was involved with an agency El Camino.
The county wants to avoid closing down Teens in a way that would leave the county legally exposed. Wishing to avoid a potential county payout, should the county make a mistake, the Board of Supervisors is apparently taking their time, ensuring all T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.
There may have been other reasons for the delay, which can’t be particularly satisfactory to the abused and neglected children, who are waiting to see if they will be transferred to a wonderful new foster home, remain with the same loving and kind foster parents, or end up staying in the same crappy foster home - take your pick.
During this time, Teens has remained open. Teens, is no doubt dying on the vine, as this is what happens when an agency is on a ‘do not refer list.’
As, no new children can be placed with the agency, Teens will continue to shrink, as other children leave to go to different homes, or reunify with birth families.
The entire process is extremely dramatic for all involved. If history is any guide, each one of Teens original foster homes will be scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. The homes will be checked and rechecked.
And foster children who may have wished to remain in those homes will have been transferred, on the off chance there was something the County missed, while overlooking years of apparent corruption.
Some children who may have been in Teens homes for years will be forced to relocate to a different foster home, many miles away. These children will have no recourse to return to foster parents they have come to know, and love. It will all depend on the County Social Workers (CSW’s) and their supervisors, who won’t be in much of a mood to take any risks.
Some foster parents will never be allowed to take in children again, as violations which were previously thought to have been minor, will suddenly become significant in the eyes of the County. Other foster parents will transfer to new agencies, but only with difficulty, and soul-searching.
Agencies in search of revenue will try to take as many families as they can together with the children in the home, as a family of four can be worth over $100,000 to an agency.
Knowing this, some social workers will use this lucrative endeavor to secure contract employment for themselves, with a new agency.
This does not have to be a bad thing, as some foster parents over time form excellent working relationships with a contract social worker. However, there is always the risk of the lack of objectivity, or collusion between the social worker, and the foster parent.
Further, the world of contract social work is rife with minor corruption and rules violations. Social workers will get around the rules governing the amount of cases they may have, by taking jobs in two counties.
One worker, who has left our geographic area, had so many cases, the county concluded that signatures from foster parents on home visit forms had to be forged. And the investigators were well on their way to proving it.
Agencies if they like the worker, will tend to overlook this, and or, have them sign some meaningless piece of paper stating that they will not engage in this practice.
It is well known that foster care has more meaningless signatures on pieces of paper, than just about any other job in the entire world.
This would almost be funny, until one considers the dozens of abused and neglected children, who failed to get appropriate services, or help from those entrusted to do just that.
It must be asked, as in the case of Teens Happy Homes; Do other agencies have current board members, or employees, with criminal backgrounds, fraud or other sexual harassment charges in their past?
Tell us, are their other sleazy felons who are board members, like there are at Teens?
A promised crackdown by the Board of Supervisors, and Wendy Watanabe, of agencies that have board members who are also contractors with their agencies, or have some other type of conflict of interest, means that somebody is in store for quite of bit of work.
Because until now, this has been a typical practice. Conflict of interests are the rule, not the exception.
And finally, will anyone ever be prosecuted for fraud or malfeasance? After millions of dollars allowed to go any which way, we have yet to see a single conviction of a CEO or board member.
Because in Big Government Foster Care, nothing really happens, until a child dies.