LA TIMES HAS ISSUED A “FOR THE RECORD”:
Foster care: The headline for an article about foster care in Los Angeles County incorrectly said that county child welfare officials would "no longer strive" to reunite families. As the story reported, Department of Children and Family Services Director Trish Ploehn told a reporter last week that such reunifications would not happen as frequently as in the past until new reforms were in place to ensure safety. The county still plans to reunite or preserve families whenever possible.
County of Los Angeles
DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES
425 Shatto Place, Los Angeles, California 90020
Board of Supervisors MARK RIDLEY-THOMAS DON KNABE
Board of Supervisors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Jakubowski or Neil Zanville
DCFS Office of Public Affairs
DCFS REMAINS COMMITTED TO SAFE FAMILY REUNIFICATION
Feb. 5, 2010, LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will continue to prioritize children’s safety first and remains strongly committed to returning children to their families whenever it is safe and in the best interest of the children, according to Trish Ploehn, director of DCFS.
“Our highest priority is to ensure that families are supported with adequate resources to care for their own children,” Ploehn said. “We remain committed to the direction we have been taking to avoid the trauma of removal whenever safely possible and continue to focus on keeping families together. It is, and always will be, the way we serve our children and families.”
Contrary to a story in today’s Los Angeles Times, DCFS has not “suspended a long-standing effort to reduce the number of children in foster homes.” In fact, the department continues to remain steadfast in its commitment to reducing the number of children in foster care and to increasing the number of family reunifications.
- DCFS remains committed to family reunification whenever it is safe for the children. In fact, the number of children in foster care has continued to decrease. As of January 2010 there were 15,680 children in temporary foster care compared to 15,997 in November 2009.
- DCFS has implemented numerous safety measures to ensure thorough investigations and assessments that augment, not replace, our efforts for safe family reunifications.
- Reassigning current staff to the investigative unit will be one way to move towards the goal of decreasing caseloads to 18 or fewer children to help bolster child safety. This strategy will not incur any cost.