At the end of January, the LA Times reported that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) failed to deliver hundreds of payments to foster parents, group homes, and foster youth transitioning to adulthood, due to a malfunction within the department’s new digital case file system launched late last year.
On Tuesday, the LA County Board of Supervisors took action to put pressure on DCFS to quickly resolve the issue and deliver back payments to the foster parents, group homes, and young adults in extended foster care who have gone without crucial monthly payments. The lost cash has resulted in homelessness for some foster youth transitioning to adulthood.
DCFS has reportedly been working to address the issue, but “the problem remains and may be more widespread than known,” Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn say in their motion. “Meanwhile, vulnerable children, youth and families are suffering.”
A little over two weeks ago, outgoing DCFS Director Philip Browning said approximately 700 payments were delayed out of around 46,000.
“These delays began in December and the fact that they have not been remedied is unacceptable,” said Supervisor Hahn.
The motion directs DCFS to report back every seven days until the entire problem is resolved. Namely, the board wants answers regarding the cause of the funding delays, what steps DCFS has taken to distribute the missed funds, what resources are necessary to get the job done, and a plan to deliver all back pay by March 14, 2017.
“It is imperative that we ensure foster youth are supported both emotionally and financially. The County’s support must be consistent and reliable,” said Supervisor Solis. “As the custodian vested with the responsibility of caring for these children and youth, we must ensure the delays are resolved quickly and efficiently.”
Photo: Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services Director Philip Browning courtesy of LA County