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Board of Supervisors to investigate allegations of abuse in foster care homes

City News Service | 5/21/2013, 10:21 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The Board of Supervisors today approved hiring seven new monitors to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect in group homes and state-licensed foster care homes.

The move to add resources follows a Los Angeles Times report of financial misdeeds and alleged abuse at homes run by one private foster care agency. Problems at Teens Happy Homes went back at least a decade, to audit findings that the agency's employees were spending money meant for children on beer and cigarettes, the newspaper reported in April.

During a board discussion on April 30, Department of Children and Family Services Director Philip Browning said that Teens Happy Homes had 82 children in 42 homes.

The DCFS placed a 45-day hold on any new referrals to the agency, pending further investigation.

Supervisors Gloria Molina and Michael Antonovich recommended that the county go a step further and terminate its contracts with Teens Happy Homes.

That matter, on today's hearing agenda, was moved for discussion behind closed doors.

In addition to approving the seven new hires, the Board of Supervisors directed Browning to report back in two weeks on the process of monitoring and investigating foster care agencies, including how many contract violations take place before referrals are terminated, how many investigations were conducted
last year, how backlogs are addressed and whether it would help to have agencies in good standing mentor troubled agencies.