The Los Angeles County child abuse hotline has the implied promise of a prompt investigation and response to the always serious charges of abuse against a child, but it seems there’s nothing prompt about the hotline. Tips involving more than 18,000 children have not been thoroughly investigated within the state’s mandated time. Due to the backlog, the state extended the county’s deadline for investigations from 30 to 60 days,. Even so, Department of Children and Family Services officials and social workers have been unable to complete the work on deadline. Close to four thousand cases, some involving multiple children, have been open for months without any abuse determination. So what’s the issue? Too few staff? Too many responsibilities? Flaws in the investigations? Whatever the issue, children could be left in danger until social workers can complete their work.
Trish Ploehn, director of the LA County Department of Child and Family Services
Mike Ross, supervising children’s social worker in the L.A. County Department of Children & Family Services’ El Monte office
Daniel Heimpel, director of Fostering Media Connections & a freelance journalist.