LA County supervisors to grab control of Probation, Children and Family Services

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Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka explains his proposed 2011-2012 budget to a reporter at a news briefing at the Hall of Administration.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted to take direct control of a pair of problem departments - Probation and Children and Family Services. The two departments might be L.A. County government’s biggest headaches.

L.A. County supervisors hired a new Probation boss last year about the same time auditors couldn’t find about $80 million that was supposed to pay for more Probation staff. The department now has to cut 200 staffers under a plan the supervisors have OK’d.

But if Probation is the supervisors’ Excedrin headache, Children and Family Services is their migraine. Every report of a child who dies in the department’s care is a headline. Too many headlines – and out went the director late last year.

A deputy to County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka took over – but last week, she quit over how much confidential material from child abuse investigations she should share with county supervisors.

They’ll get their share now. They’ve voted to have Probation and Children and Family Services report directly to them, and not to Fujioka. That’s trouble for the county’s Chief Executive Officer – and it arises as he tries to balance an out-of-balance budget.

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