Articles on social workers

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Postby Marina » Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:56 am

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Social worker lawsuits settled

By Paul A. Long
Post staff reporter

The state has paid more than $400,000 to settle lawsuits filed in 2005 by two social workers who alleged abuse of worker and misconduct in the Northern Kentucky office of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The two women, Patricia Moore and Katherine Siereveld, said supervisors in Northern Kentucky pressed them to ignore allegations of abuse in foster homes to allow more adoptions of special needs children.

They did so, the women said, because the federal government gave the state subsidies based on the number of such adoptions.

Both Moore and Siereveld said they were harassed and eventually fired for voicing the complaints.

In settlements reached last month, the state agreed to pay Moore $380,000, and Siereveld $45,000 to dismiss the lawsuits.

Their attorney, Shane Sidebottom, said he couldn't discuss the cases because of a confidentiality agreement. But he said his clients are happy.

"Pat Moore and Katherine Siereveld are relived to have their cases resolved, and everything has been settled amicably among the parties," he said.

Despite the confidentiality clause, The Kentucky Post obtained a copy from the state under the Open Records Act. In those documents, state lawyers deny any wrongdoing by the cabinet.

"The payment of such sums is not an admission of liability on the part of the (state), and is made solely in order to compromise a disputed claim for the purpose of avoiding further controversy or litigation," said terms of the two settlements.

"(State officials) expressly deny any violation of any policies or procedures of CHFS or violation of any local, state, or federal laws or regulations."

Siereveld, of Grant County, said in her suit that she was pressured to rush abuse investigations. She claimed that the cabinet did not have adequate staff or equipment, and that her complaints to management resulted in retaliation.

Moore, of Elsmere, said in her suit that she was a team supervisor with an exemplary work record before she started clashing with her supervisors over what she considered inappropriate adoption placements. In one instance outlined in the lawsuit, Moore said she was ordered to go ahead with an adoption at a home that had been the subject of numerous complaints over a two-year period, including allegations of drug abuse and child molestation.

In documents filed with the lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Covington, another former social worker backed up some of their claims.

In a deposition given in August 2006, Julie Huffman of Union said she filled in as a supervisor in 2003. She said office managers had a policy to get rid of troublesome workers who complained too much.

"This plan was to give these workers undesirable performance plans filled with tasks and timelines that were virtually unachievable," Huffman said in a statement under oath.

She was told to "meet with the employee, give them a performance plan full of tasks and timelines that were virtually impossible to complete, and when they couldn't complete them on time, give them an official write-up in their employee record, and then give them another performance plan.

"When they didn't complete it, give them another write-up, until eventually that employee would become so exasperated they would decide to leave."


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Postby Marina » Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:07 pm


2 measures target caseworkers

By James Thalman
Deseret Morning News
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007 12:07 a.m. MST

Two bills targeting child abuse caseworkers who make false claims were approved Monday by the Legislature's chief child welfare oversight committee.

One would change state law to require that the mandatory education and training of caseworkers by the state Division of Child and Family Services include programs in recognizing and responding to attempts to manipulate or misuse the system to favor one side or another.

The second revokes the usual immunity granted to state government employees for any child abuse caseworker who knowingly or willfully provided false information or fabricated evidence in the conduct of an abuse investigation.

People such as private detectives or neighbors who assist in an abuse inquiry and who provide false or misleading information and knew it was false at the time would also not be immune.

Despite concern that the two bills were essentially restating what is already routine operation of DCFS, the lawmakers ultimately agreed that specifically stated language would allow some recourse for someone who is victimized by the irresponsible behavior of a caseworker.

There may be duplication within the law, said Tom Vaughn, general counsel to the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel. "The existing statutes talk about good faith," Vaughn said. "This clarifies and actually spells out what exactly is bad faith."

"What if someone is just wrong?" Rep. David Litvak, D-Salt Lake, asked the panel, noting that a wrong medical diagnosis or just misreading a situation might lead to a conclusion of willful misconduct.
The standard of willful and illegal is the key, said panel chairman Rep. Dan Eastman, R-Bountiful. "I think it makes sense to reiterate the law and provide an alley for civil lawsuits."

State Health and Human Services Director Lisa-Michelle Church said the bills could have a negative effect on recruitment of abuse caseworkers. Recruitment is "always open. That means there are never enough people for the job. They are trained and know that false or misleading information is not permitted whatsoever. They are getting $13 to $15 an hour, and now we tell them here's another thing you have to live up to."

She said the message might also discourage full participation of other family members, teachers, community members and friends involved in helping a family rebuild after abuse has occurred. "That doesn't seem like that's necessary or what we really want to do when we're trying to build a consensus around that family."

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Postby Marina » Fri Nov 09, 2007 12:41 pm

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Firings are urged over misuse of foster kids' money

Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times

Supervisor Gloria Molina described the practices highlighted in a county audit released Tuesday as a "new version of taking candy from children."

L.A. County supervisors also want child welfare workers to return funds spent on lunches, musical events.

By Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 8, 2007

Los Angeles County child welfare workers who misused thousands of dollars meant for foster children should be fired and forced to return the money, county supervisors said Wednesday.

Supervisor Gloria Molina described the practices highlighted in a county audit released a day earlier as a "new version of taking candy from children." The audit showed some employees bought themselves lunches and attended musical events with money intended for foster children.

"I'm asking that these people be terminated immediately," she said. "These are limited resources for children, and people like this shouldn't be taking advantage of this, and obviously they are."

Supervisor Mike Antonovich called for criminal charges to be filed against any employees who misused the gift cards and entertainment tickets cited in the audit. "Fraud was committed," he said. "Gift cards were to be used for foster children, not to be used for the case workers."

The Department of Children and Family Services said it had begun disciplinary proceedings against four managers and that more could face punishment once the county's investigation is complete.

Department Director Patricia S. Ploehn said she was consulting with lawyers to determine whether the county can demand reimbursement. She declined to detail the possible punishment, citing confidentiality rules concerning personnel records.

Meanwhile, county Auditor-Controller J. Tyler McCauley said his office would discuss the results of the audit with the district attorney's office for possible prosecution.

The audit, which focused on employees in a mentoring program for foster children, is the latest black eye for the county's child welfare agency.

While successfully reducing the number of children in foster care, the department has been beset in recent months by a series of management problems.

Earlier this year, county auditors faulted the department for failing to adequately keep track of its supply purchases, concluding that procurement workers had wasted more than $1 million on unnecessary or overpriced equipment.

In June, the agency reported that financial miscalculations and other problems had helped create an $8-million hole in its budget last year and forecast it needed to plug an additional $32-million hole during this fiscal year. The announcement drew criticism from supervisors, who said the department had expanded too quickly without watching the bottom line.

Supervisors praised Ploehn for moving quickly to deal with the problems, noting that she had called for the original audit that identified waste, but they said she has much to do.

"You can't be running eight-figure deficits that come at you at the last second," Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. "You have scandal rampant in your department. . . . You've got to get your arms around them swiftly and unforgivingly. There's got to be zero tolerance."

Molina blamed a long-standing culture in the department that she said bred a sense of entitlement among a small but influential number of employees.

"I think there's many a social worker there who have probably been there far too long, who don't understand their own personal mission and responsibility" and they "should be moving on to other roles and responsibilities," she said.

Ploehn, who took over as director in September 2006, acknowledged department managers had focused heavily on preventing child abuse and finding permanent homes for children in recent years. But "we took our eye off of some of the basics that need to be done in running a department of this size," she said.

In their latest report, auditors singled out the purchase of 160 tickets in July to see the hit musical "Wicked" as part of a $14,000 gala event for foster children and their mentors.

Only 53 children and roughly the same number of mentors were given tickets. The rest went to department employees and their relatives and guests, along with unidentified "potential mentors" and a number of employees of not-for-profit organizations, auditors wrote.

The audit also faulted employees for using gift cards -- bought with county money to supply food and clothing to foster children -- to pay for staff luncheons.

The findings raised concerns that businesses and other members of the public might be deterred from making donations to foster children.

"I hope from my heart on behalf of these kids that no one pulls away from support of them because of this sad violation of public trust," said Deanne Tilton-Durfee, executive director of the county Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect.

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Postby Marina » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:35 pm

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Foster children taken from CPS worker and family

Syleste Rodriguez
12 News
Nov. 19, 2007 05:09 PM

A family in turmoil: A woman who works for CPS and whose job it is to protect kids has her own foster child taken away. Three other children were taken from a relative's home. The investigation started in August.

"They can investigate for a hundred years if they want to, they're never going to find anything that proves we hurt that baby, 'cause we love that baby," Foster parent Judy Winans says.

Home video courtesy of a neighbor shows CPS at her home Friday evening taking her three foster children into custody.

"I'm angry that they just came in and totally traumatized my children," Winans says.

CPS left Winans' two other children at home, they're adopted. Winans' biological daughter Mindee Macias is also a foster parent.

It's was her foster son's seizure that prompted the investigation. Macias works for CPS as a caseworker.

"They're on one hand telling her we think you're a party to this child being hurt, but we think its okay for you to come in and make decisions about other people's kids," Winans says.

Winans believes in her daughter's ability to do her job. She's angry because CPS isn't blaming anyone for the alleged child abuse. Making it difficult to appeal.

12 News did confirm Mindee Macias does work for CPS. The agency says they don't have any reason to believe Macias harmed her foster son. But, doctors working the case say the injuries the infant suffered were not accidental.


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Postby Marina » Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:24 am

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Worry drives out DCF staffers

Negative publicity creates high turnover in child welfare agency

By Amy Bennett Williams
[email protected]
Originally posted on December 02, 2007

In the past 21 months, almost 90 percent of Department of Children and Families' child protective investigators in Lee County have left the agency. Eight of the 38 investigator jobs in Lee are vacant. Five more resignations go into effect Dec. 10.

Small wonder DCF called its turnover rate "pervasive" in a management report released in October.

Even though there are five soon-to-be investigators scheduled to graduate from training early this month, they'll be joining ranks of people almost as fresh as they are. Throughout Circuit 20 — Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties — 70 percent of investigators have less than two years' experience; 55 have less than a year.


"Many factors contributed to the turnover, including the inherent difficulties of the job made even more difficult by poor public perception of the Department in the community," the report said.

DCF spokeswoman Kristi Sonntag put it more succinctly: "Every time there's a high-profile case where an investigator is named, we lose people."

The News-Press has been investigating the Florida Department of Children and Families for two years. It has hosted a community roundtable to find ways to help Southwest Florida's most vulnerable children and has created a page on complete with databases, resources and additional coverage on child welfare.

For example, Sonntag said, the year before Michelle Fontanez died in February 2006, allegedly at the hands of her stepfather after telling investigators he'd been abusing her for years, the turnover rate among Lee child protective investigators was 23.6 percent.

It's now 88.3 percent.

Last straw

One of those lost was Sara Phillips, 25, who resigned after a Lehigh Acres toddler burned with a curling iron became headline news last month. After the incident, in which 18-year-old mother Breanna Hall denied to Phillips she burned the child, but later confessed to a deputy, The News-Press columnist Sam Cook wrote: "The names of DCF directors change, but the song sounds the same for their investigators — incompetent."

That was the last straw for Phillips, who said she did everything she was supposed to.

"I dotted all my i's and crossed all my t's," she said.

She was called a "superb" investigator in a March performance evaluation. DCF secretary Bob Butterworth called Phillips' leaving sad. The department asked her to reconsider her resignation, but she remains adamant.

"The things that have been written about me have not only affected me, but have also affected my family, friends, and co-workers," Phillips said. "I love my job, really I do, but the stress of this was just too much."

This echoes the October review: "Public perception of the Department — particularly with respect to child protection — is poor. ... This has adversely impacted the Department's ability to recruit and retain child protective investigators and has seriously eroded staff morale in this area."

As wrenching as it is for workers who leave, children they serve suffer, too, said Harriet "Cookie" Coleman, the new Circuit 20 administrator.

"With such high turnover, you have less-experienced employees," she said, "and that makes the work of keeping kids safe much harder to do — let alone do well."

Desiree Lewis Dahlke would second that. She was in the child welfare system for years before she became too old for foster care at age 18. Now 24, she's a cook at Jayne's Victorian Garden in Fort Myers.

"At first, I was shoved around a lot," she said. "Then I had a really good one (caseworker) and had her for about six months. Then after that, it seemed like I had a new one every month. The last one, I didn't even meet."

Retention issue

DCF itself has historically held some of the blame for turnover, Butterworth said, because of pervasive secrecy and a willingness to scapegoat workers. "If employees think management is going to throw them under the bus, obviously that hurts."

Butterworth said he vows to change that, championing openness and responsiveness, yet he acknowledges finding and keeping frontline workers is a challenge.

"It's a very tough job, we require a college degree, and then we pay a whole $34,000 a year," he said. "If the Legislature would let me pay them more, I absolutely will, but until then ... ," he said, trailing off.

Meanwhile, Butterworth is working to fix DCF's perception from within.

"I'm hoping to change the image of us as 'the beleaguered agency,'" he said. "I want people to say, 'Wait a minute — we do lots of good things.'"

Closer to home, circuit administrator Coleman has ideas of her own, starting with a strong internship program.

"We need to expose people to the rewards and challenges of this work. It is not a thankless job, but it is a difficult job," Coleman said. "You really do make a difference."

Yet, though an internship agreement exists on paper between DCF and Florida Gulf Coast University, no one is enrolled.

Part of the problem, said professor Sakinah Salahu-Din, director of FGCU's division of social work, is the university requires its interns to be supervised by DCF workers with social work degrees, and they are in short supply, she said.

Top ranks leave

At the same time that its front line churns, there's turnover in DCF's top ranks as well. That often happens when there's a new administrator, Sonntag said.

Last month, circuit administrator Robert McHarry was demoted and replaced by Coleman while operations manager Harry Propper resigned, to be replaced by Kimberly Kutch on Dec. 3. And Nov. 21, Coleman dismissed 17-year DCF veteran George Glatt, the program administrator in charge of Collier, Hendry and Glades counties, although his last performance evaluation called him "an excellent leader and manager."

Glatt's firing was a shock to many of his colleagues, including Jackie Stephens, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Collier County, which consults with DCF on cases of physical or sexual abuse.

"It was very much a surprise, and we're certainly going to miss him," said Stephens, who worked with him for more than 15 years.

Glatt, 63, who'd been hoping to retire from DCF, said he feels puzzled, betrayed and stunned by the way Coleman handled it. "She terminated me over the phone the night before Thanksgiving while I was on vacation."

Coleman realizes her move might puzzle outsiders. "George has done an excellent job, (but) he just didn't fit into my concept of a team."

Media spotlight

Glatt believes media coverage has a far greater effect on the department than the public realizes.

"When you're reading about your operation in the paper every day and when management fails to deal with it and, in fact, says, 'It's the newspaper's fault,' well, no, it's your fault," Glatt said. "These new managers come in and you hear these great platitudes, but none of these new managers really know the business of our business.

"Saving children's lives. Period. That's what this is all about."

Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, based in Alexandria, Va., agrees, but points out turnover is symptomatic of deeper ills.

High-profile child death cases create a fear-based backlash he calls a foster care panic, which in turn creates a vicious cycle of stress, burnout and turnover — all of which ultimately endanger vulnerable children, Wexler said.

"If management climbs into a bunker, or worse, hunts for scapegoats, and the media do the same, then every caseworker becomes terrified of having the next such case on her load," he said. "So they rush to tear apart more families. That only further overloads workers."

The 30 remaining child protective investigators in Lee County average 30 cases each, Sonntag said, although each case might have as many as seven children. And when the five new resignations become effective Dec. 10, everyone's caseload will increase again, she said.

That spells more trouble for the children, warned Wexler, because even if replacements are hired quickly, they have to get up to speed on old cases.

"Of course, they're not going to know every case as well as they should. They may only have time to skim a file instead of reading it thoroughly," he said.

Then the cycle repeats itself: The more cases workers have, the less time they can spend on each, "So they make even more mistakes."

What follows, Wexler said, is turnover. "The fear of being crucified creates still another incentive to get out. So that's exactly what workers do."

For their part, Glatt and Phillips say they have no idea what they'll do next.

Yet Phillips remains optimistic there will always be those who want to protect children.

"There are a lot of people who honestly care about kids," she said. "Someone will come along who's a lot like me."


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Postby Marina » Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:08 pm

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Two more caseworkers fired for girl's death
BALTIMORE (AP) — Three more social-services officials have been disciplined in the wake of the death of a girl who died of methadone poisoning, even though caseworkers knew her mother was a mentally disturbed drug addict.


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Postby Marina » Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:39 pm

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008 12:04 PM CST

Social worker's perjury trial to start Wednesday

INDEPENDENCE --- The trial for a Buchanan County social worker charged with three counts of perjury is slated to begin Wednesday.

Marie Mahler, 39, of Cedar Falls, is accused of filing three child welfare reports with the courts between Aug. 27, 2004, and Oct. 7, 2004, that contained false information.

Court documents state Mahler's reports included several misrepresentations of conversations, events and relationships of people involved in a child custody case between Denise Gander of Jesup and Allen Gardner of Tripoli.

The child-in-need-of-assistance case began in February 2004 after Gander's two youngest children, a boy and a girl, tested positive for having methamphetamine in their systems. The children were placed with relatives.

Meanwhile, Gander and Gardner began a legal battle for the girl, who is Gardner's daughter. Mahler's reports were filed during this time period, according to court documents.

Mahler is employed by the Iowa Department of Human Services and has had her license since 1998. She has no record of disciplinary action, according to the Iowa Bureau of Professional Licensing, and her license is active.

State officials said it is unusual for a social worker to be charged with perjury for information included in a report.

Perjury is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The trial is expected to last three days.


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Postby Marina » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:22 pm

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DCF social worker arrested in Martin County
By Megan V. Winslow (Contact)
Saturday, April 12, 2008

STUART — A Department of Children and Families social worker has been fired and arrested for falsifying documents to indicate he visited a child client he did not, according to law enforcement records and DCF officials.

Child Protective Investigator Fielding Lee Graves' arrest comes two years after another social worker was sentenced to probation for elaborately falsifying records for 13 DCF cases.

Graves, who has worked for DCF since December 2001, could not be reached for comment Friday.

According to a DCF inspector general report, Graves falsely reported he saw a child client Oct. 11, 2007, at an area elementary school, but a supervisor "knew this to be incorrect because her notes on the case indicated that Mr. Graves had not yet conducted the follow-up visit."

When the supervisor requested a copy of the school's sign-in sheet, Graves, of Stuart, told her there wasn't one, according to the report.

An in-depth review of Graves' files indicated it was an isolated incident, but DCF officials fired him Oct. 28 and notified law enforcement, said Vern Melvin, DCF 19th Circuit administrator.

Martin County sheriff's deputies arrested Graves, 61, on Tuesday and charged him with a felony count of falsifying records and a misdemeanor count of falsifying records. He posted his $3,000 bail Tuesday and left the Martin County Jail, according law enforcement.

Like disgraced DCF social worker Angela Christine Edgerton, Graves blamed his actions on a heavy caseload. But Melvin said he didn't have any more cases than the other 41 investigators within the 19th Circuit.

DCF workers generally handle 10 to 12 cases a month and are required to make face-to-face contact with alleged victims within 24 hours of a complaint. All cases are reviewed by a supervisor at least twice, and officials conduct random follow-up phone calls with families to check.

"Our agency has zero tolerance for falsifying children's records," Melvin said. "The implication can always be compromising child safety, and of course that's why we're here, to take care of children."

It was in May 2005 when DCF officials learned Edgerton, an employee of two years, had been falsifying records.

According to a Stuart Police Department report, Edgerton, a Stuart resident at the time, would lie about checking on children and parents by filing reports indicating she interviewed them when she never even met them. Some cases involved children exposed to substance and physical abuse.

Edgerton pleaded no contest to falsifying records, and a Martin County circuit judge sentenced her to two years of probation followed by 200 hours of community service.


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Postby Marina » Sun May 11, 2008 11:54 am


DHS worker accused of failing to report abuse

Posted: Feb 22, 2008 10:47 AM EST


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A state Department of Human Services employee is being charged with misdemeanor failure to report child abuse.

Bernadette Mwangi is accused of failing to report the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old foster child after seeing the girl's foster father kiss her during a home visit.

Mwangi is no longer working with children but remains an employee of DHS.

Investigators say Mwangi saw Daniel McFarland inappropriately kiss the girl last spring but never reported it. The incident was discovered by police investigating a report that McFarland was kissing and fondling the girl on New Year's Eve.

McFarland is now charged with felony sexual abuse of a child.


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Postby Marina » Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:30 pm

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Conn. child welfare worker charged in baby's death
By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jul 17, 8:07 PM ET

HARTFORD, Conn. - An employee of the state Department of Children and Families has been charged in the death of a 7-month-old foster child placed in her care, prompting the agency to seek her dismissal.

Suzanne Listro received a foster care provider's license earlier this year, despite having been investigated twice on allegations she abused a 3-year-old boy she adopted, DCF Commissioner Susan Hamilton said. Those accusations were not substantiated.

State police charged Listro, 40, with manslaughter Wednesday in the May 19 death of Michael Brown Jr., who suffered a blunt trauma head injury at her home in Mansfield. At a court appearance Thursday, a judge set bond at $1 million. Her adopted son is under DCF care, Hamilton said.

"We don't expect her to be posting bond today," said her attorney, Matthew Potter. He declined to comment further.

Listro told authorities that the baby fell off a bed onto the floor, went limp and stopped breathing, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. But the chief medical examiner's office said the child's injuries were not consistent with that explanation and ruled the death a homicide.

The baby had been in Listro's home for a week before he died. He was Listro's first placement and had been in another foster home before then, the commissioner said.

Listro has been at the department for 15 years and most recently worked as a children's services consultant. She has been on unpaid leave since May, and Hamilton is seeking to have her fired.

Hamilton also said she will require an outside firm to review agency workers who want to be foster parents beginning Oct. 1.

The Department of Children and Families has about 3,400 full-time workers; 28 are licensed to be foster parents and 15 are going through the licensing process.

"The death of any child for any reason is difficult to comprehend, but when it comes at the hands of someone who has been entrusted with their care by the state it is an unspeakable and unacceptable tragedy," said Hamilton, who has run the department for the last year.

Hamilton said she also plans to dismiss a department investigator who handled the two previous abuse probes in 2006 and 2007 involving Listro and her adopted child. She called those investigations "substandard and unacceptable."

A manager who approved both investigations will be suspended for 20 days, Hamilton said. Others who work in the department's Special Investigations Unit are also being reviewed and further discipline could be imposed.

Because the alleged abuse was unsubstantiated, Listro's name was not in the automated child abuse and neglect registry when she was being investigated for a foster care license, Hamilton said.


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Postby Marina » Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:32 pm

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CPS Worker Suspended in Beaten Child Death Case

Posted By: C. Johnson Posted By: Mark Hedlund

SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento social worker has been placed on administrative leave, accused of failing to properly investigate the case of a 4-year-old later beaten to death.

Jahmaurae Allen died Monday night after suffering severe head and internal injuries, according to Sacramento County sheriff's investigators. Jonathan Lamar Perry, Jr., 26, who was caring for his girlfriend's son, is accused of murder and assault.

Just five weeks earlier, Sacramento County Child Protective Services began an investigation into suspected abuse involving Allen. Now, county officials admit CPS must take partial blame for the boy's death.

"The social worker did not follow established procedures within the department and it resulted in the death of the child," said Lynn Frank, Director of the county's Health and Human Services which oversees CPS. "We have placed the worker on administrative leave."

Frank said when she heard of the toddler's death, her reaction was, "shock and horror."

"I was amazed that appropriate procedures were not followed. I really don't even know what else to say. I'm just really amazed," Frank told News10.

The initial suspicion of abuse was reported by a health care professional. The CPS case worker did not have "required contact with reporting party; required contact with medical personnel; required contact with persons who may have knowledge of the family; and reviewing the case with the supervisor," said Frank.

"Although Child Protective Services intervened in this case and did take some steps to protect Jahmaurae, we could have - and should have - done more," Frank said.

She said she knew the worker had 24 new cases in June in addition to her current caseload but that wasn't enough reason.

"The social worker might have felt overwhelmed. That doesn't excuse not following appropriate procedures, but that's the only thing I can put my hands around about why the appropriate actions might not have been taken," said Frank.

The female social worker has not been identified, and Frank said she didn't know how long the worker has been with Sacramento's CPS.

Earlier Thursday, Perry missed his arraignment in Sacramento County Superior Court, "due to his psychological condition," according to a court bailiff.

Perry is on suicide watch in Sacramento Main Jail. Sources close to the investigation have told News10 that Perry admitted responsibility for Allen's death. His arraignment was continued to Friday.

Investigators say Perry called 911 early Monday morning from his girlfriend's apartment in the Oak Hollow complex in North Highlands. He told dispatchers the 4-year-old was unresponsive, according to sheriff's detectives. He was watching the boy and his 18-month-old sister while the children's mother, Tiffany Lacy, took her third child to the hospital because he was ill.

Allen died later Monday night. Perry was arrested the next day while staying with a family member in Antioch.

In light of this case, Frank said immediate changes are being made. That includes supervisors reviewing all 921 current child abuse or mistreatment investigations. There will also be daily briefings between supervisors and case workers to identify high risk situations.

"The majority of our social workers do excellent work and keep thousands of children safe," she said. "When we fail it is a big failure because it costs the life of a child."


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Postby Marina » Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:26 pm ... 7915&rfi=6

Expert witness accused of lying about credentials


Journal Register News Service

NORRISTOWN — Authorities have accused a clinical social worker of lying about his credentials.

Ira L. Bilofsky, who has testified as an "expert" witness in Montgomery County family court matters and lists himself as also providing services in the North Penn School District and for the county Office of Children and Youth among others, is charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, lying to law enforcement officials, theft and related offenses.

Bilofsky, 49, of the first block of Ridge Woods Way, Towamencin, was arraigned last week before District Judge Margaret A. Hunsicker on the felony and misdemeanor charges and released on $10,000-10 percent cash bail.


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Postby Marina » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:06 pm ... 53685.html

Oct 31, 2008 1:57 pm US/Pacific

Yuba Co. Social Worker Arrested For Extortion

ROCKLIN (CBS13) ― A Yuba County Child Protective Services worker has been arrested for extortion, accepting a bribe as a public official and possession of stolen property, according to authorities.

41-year-old Yolanda Perez Fryson was arrested on Thursday in Rocklin by Placer County Sheriff's deputies who say they witnessed her take a $10,000 bribe.

According to the Placer County Sheriff's Department, Fryson had been on administrative leave from her job since June of this year. While on leave, she contacted a Placer County man and told him he was suspected of sexual and physical abuse and that she could make the charges go away.

The victim first contacted Yuba County officials who then contacted the Placer County Sheriff's Department. A meeting was set up between the victim and Fryson. As soon as Fryson took the bribe, she was arrested.

Fryson was also charged with stolen property after detectives found a badge in her home that Fryson had reported as stolen back in 2005.

She is being held in the Placer County Jail on $500,000 bail.

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Postby Marina » Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:57 pm ... enDocument

Illinois budget woes mean child-welfare agency ends drug tests for prospective workers

By John O'connor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois' child-welfare agency, looking for savings amid a budget crunch, has stopped a 10-month-old employee drug testing program officials say kept five dozen substance users from jobs that could have put them in contact with the state's most vulnerable children.

A memo from Department of Children and Family Services director Erwin McEwen, obtained by The Associated Press, indicates drug testing of job seekers, including those of private contractors or vendors, ended Nov. 18.

Spokesman Kendall Marlowe said the agency started pre-employment drug screens in February to determine the extent of drug usage among prospective employees. He wouldn't comment on whether there were specific problems, but he said client safety drove the idea. RELATED LINK
Read about more 'Doomsday' effects of the Illinois budget cuts

Testing was required for anyone who wanted a job working directly with children and families, such as DCFS workers who investigate allegations of abuse or neglect, caseworkers who determine the best care for an abused child and private-agency monitors of children in foster care.

About 3,100 people who had been offered jobs -- provided they were drug-free -- were tested, Marlowe said. Roughly 2 percent -- about 60 -- were positive.

"There is a valid concern," Marlowe said. "Even one positive test is a concern."

Each test costs $23.50, for a total of just over $70,000, a small amount in a huge state budget. But agencies under Gov. Rod Blagojevich have to find savings because of a worsening economy that will contribute to what state officials say will be a $2 billion deficit.

The budget hole nearly led to the layoff of 179 DCFS employees, spared when Blagojevich restored funding last month.

"We will seek to resume this testing as soon as sufficient funds are available," Marlowe said.

McEwen noted in the memo that some private contractors working for DCFS conduct their own tests on incoming employees and encouraged them to continue.

Required testing helped those agencies put more emphasis on the issue, but DCFS hadn't worked out all the kinks, said Margaret Berglind, president and CEO of the Child Care Association of Illinois.

Private agencies were troubled by the need to test even volunteers, regardless of how little time they spent with children or whether they were in settings supervised by full-time employees, Berglind said.

She said DCFS used only one drug-testing vendor, so some job applicants had to travel long distances to get to approved labs. And she said DCFS told the agencies it did not have money to continue the program next year, so the agencies feared they would get stuck with the cost.

"No one disagrees that we need to have clean and sober employees working with children," Berglind said. "Whether these drug tests would actually ensure that, I don't think there's any proof of that anywhere."

The council that endorses child-welfare agencies, including DCFS, does not require drug testing because it's not cost-efficient, not entirely effective and is illegal in some states.

"We look at criminal history records that could deal with drug abuse," said Richard Klarberg, president and CEO of the Council on Accreditation. "We look at criminal and civil child abuse and neglect registries and we have other standards around recruitment."

Although it's not required, the council supports random testing of current employees as a more effective way to find drug abusers, Klarberg said.

One of DCFS' aims was to expand testing to employees for reasonable suspicion and then possibly to random screens, Marlowe said. But employee unions would have to agree to those moves.

Other state agencies test for drugs. Prison-system and state police workers must be clean to get a job and then face random tests. State workers with access to nuclear facilities and people who want state jobs that require driving commercial vehicles such as trucks also must pass, officials said.

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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:49 pm ... 5185.shtml

Prostitution raffle busted

Issue date: 12/2/08 Section: State

COLUMBUS (AP) - A college adviser and a real estate agent joined together to hold a raffle that offered an evening with a prostitute who is also a child sex-abuse caseworker, police said.


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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:32 pm ... px?rss=784

DHS worker admits failing to report child abuse

Last Update: 12/09 10:12 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma Department of Human Services worker has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to failing to report child abuse.

Sixty-five-year-old Nancy Cannady of Guthrie was charged in September 2007 with ignoring a 5-year-old girl's claim that she was sexually abused.

The child's foster brother later confessed to sexually abusing the girl and another girl.

Cannady was sentenced Monday to a one-year suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge.

DHS officials say the conviction likely will not jeopardize her job because it isn't a felony.

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Postby Marina » Sat May 23, 2009 6:22 pm ... arged.html

CPS worker charged with forgery

May 23, 2009 12:57:00 AM

By Rob Young/Appeal-Democrat

A Sutter County Child Protective Services employee has been charged with forging a court record and a judge's signature, the Appeal-Democrat has learned.

Sarah J. Powell, 35, will be arraigned June 1 in Sutter County Superior Court, said Assistant District Attorney Fred Schroeder.

Powell is also charged with forging the seal of the state of California on a document, he said.

Schroeder said he could not comment on the motive behind the alleged forgery. He did not disclose which judge's signature Powell is charged with forging.

Powell and Child Protective Services officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The three charges were filed May 12. Powell was not arrested but was sent a letter ordering her to appear in court, Schroeder said.

There are no other defendants in the case, he said.

Child Protective Services workers are county employees.

Sutter County spokesman Chuck Smith said he learned of the case from the Appeal-Democrat.

"I have no idea what her job status is," Smith said.

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Ex-CPS worker to serve 90 days in jail

Postby Leomarth » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:29 am

By Mary Ann Cavazos (Contact)
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CORPUS CHRISTI — A former Child Protective Services supervisor who falsely accused a man of molestation must spend 90 days in jail as a condition of her probation.

After District Judge Tom Greenwell announced his decision Monday, a bailiff immediately handcuffed Grizelda Lopez-Hess. Her husband, Corpus Christi police detective Michael Hess, then moved to her side and kissed her goodbye.

Lopez-Hess, 38, pleaded guilty May 22 to a charge of making a false report of abuse. She said she made an anonymous call to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on Oct. 9 in which she claimed Ricardo Jimenez was molesting the daughter of the woman he was dating. She says in the phone call, played for the judge, that she learned of the abuse from her daughter, who is friends with the victim.

The problem: She made the whole thing up. She doesn’t even have a daughter.

Jimenez is a forensic interviewer with the local Children’s Advocacy Center.

The allegation launched a Child Protective Services investigation that found it was untrue.

Jimenez said the lie has embarrassed him and hurt his reputation. He said he is unsure what long-term effect it will have, but said already defense attorneys have tried to bring up the issue in unrelated criminal cases in which he is called to testify as an expert witness.

As part of a plea deal, Lopez-Hess was sentenced to two years in state jail, which was suspended for three years probation. Other conditions include that she stay away from Jimenez and his family, pay a fine, complete 100 community service hours and attend anger management classes.

But prosecutor Angelica Hernandez also had asked for the jail time saying it was likely the only way Lopez-Hess would realize the magnitude of her actions.

She characterized Lopez-Hess as a woman who carried out a cold and calculated act and manipulated the system to attack Jimenez.

“It was a very strong message that I think the community needed to hear,” she said.

Lopez-Hess’ attorney, Eric Perkins argued that jail was unnecessary and excessive.

Hess testified that his wife would be in danger if she went to jail. After her arrest last year, she was briefly in a holding cell in which two fellow prisoners recognized her as the person who took their children away.

Jail officials said she would be isolated from other prisoners for her own protection.

Lopez-Hess made the false report months after she was fired from CPS.

Lopez-Hess said she made the call the same day she found out her husband was being transferred from the family violence unit to property crimes. Both she and Hess said they believed Misty Guajardo, who is in a relationship with Jimenez, was to blame for the transfer. Guajardo, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center, said she had nothing to do with it. Hess and his wife say Guajardo harbored animosity for issues Hess brought up when he served on the nonprofit’s board of directors.

But prosecutors cited a disciplinary action letter to Hess in which he agreed to a transfer. That disciplinary action was prompted by allegations that he and his wife tipped off a suspect in a criminal case.

A CPS official said those allegations also were a factor in Lopez-Hess’ firing.

She and her husband said the allegations are untrue. But prosecutors pointed out the suspect, his wife and daughter all testified at his trial that Lopez-Hess had tipped them off.

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Abilities Plus? Or Scam?

Postby Free_Kaler » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:19 am

Hey kids, I hope this link is the right one heh, Anyway the ("disabled") people (Abilities Plus) they are talking about in the article, are the children. They get their funding from every child they diagnose with a problem. And every one (tested) according to them has a problem. Those are their "disabled" clients. It's a big scam to draw Fed $$$$.
Kids ripped from homes.
Are you digging it?
They collect on the bounty. Kids are ripped and the Fossie's get the extra cash (for every dis.) when the Kidlet's want to go home.
Tell them to cut the funding now, not tomorrow.
I'm using Linda's Forum and hope (You Linda,
Don't mind. (?)

I don't post often, but think some calls should be made to cut this money grubbing, gleaning of the children should be stopped forever now that it is down. (Always)

Please pass this along to all your groups:

Thank-You and Bless from the Good,

Don't get raped.

Me. (& K)

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Location: Northern California

Re: Ex-CPS worker to serve 90 days in jail

Postby LindaJM » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:24 am

Leomarth wrote:By Mary Ann Cavazos (Contact)
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
CORPUS CHRISTI — A former Child Protective Services supervisor who falsely accused a man of molestation must spend 90 days in jail as a condition of her probation.

Thanks for the article posting, Leomarth! I'm featuring this on the front page of FightCPS today. Better late than never! :oops:

It is so encouraging to know that a lying social worker is being punished for her crime.
Sample Document Library

Please keep in mind that none of us are lawyers and we can't give legal advice. We are simply telling you what we would do in a similar situation. It is to your advantage to get a lawyer.

"Evil flourishes when good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke ... so try to do something to change the system ...

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Postby Marina » Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:43 pm ... ounty.html

Former CPS worker found guilty of forgery

August 06, 2009 11:40:00 PM
By Rob Young/Appeal-Democrat

A Sutter County judge on Thursday found former Child Protective Services worker Sarah Jane Powell guilty of forgery after she admitted "cutting and pasting" a court document, including a copy of another judge's signature.

Judge H. Ted Hansen reached the verdict after a one-day trial in which Powell alternately wept and became angry under cross-examination by a prosecutor.

Powell testified she created the document April 15 so a foster child — a girl under the age of 5 — could get much-needed dental surgery. But Assistant District Attorney Jana McClung said Powell, who had just been reprimanded for not completing work on time, was trying to protect her job after failing to promptly file a true document.

Powell was fired after another social worker found a fake document, with Sutter County Judge Chris Chandler's signature taped to it, in a copy machine where Powell left it.

"Why did you do it?" Powell's attorney, Timothy Evans, asked her.

"I just panicked. I wanted to make sure (the foster child) got the procedure done she was scheduled for," Powell said.

Delaying the dental procedure, which was scheduled the next day, would have meant the child living in pain months longer, she said.

But Craig Hungrige, an investigator for the Sutter County District Attorney's Office, testified Powell told him soon after being caught that she was worried about losing her job.

Hungrige said he initially interviewed Powell at the CPS office on Live Oak Boulevard in Yuba City with her boss present. She denied knowledge of the fake papers, he said.

But when he and Powell, who knew each other from student days, walked to her car in the parking lot, Powell said, "Craig, I f----d up," and cited problems in her personal life. She acknowledged not getting her work done on time, he said. McClung aggressively cross-examined Powell.

"How many times had you done this before?" McClung said about the fake documents.

"I'd never done it before," Powell snapped.

Asked why she hadn't gone to supervisors to expedite the needed paperwork instead of forging it, Powell said, "I wish I knew the answer to that."

Evans said it was very unlikely his client would have been fired for not filing the papers on time.

"She foolishly chose the path that ended with her losing her job," Evans said in summing up the case.

Evans blamed CPS in general — and Powell's boss Roberto Garcia in particular — for delaying the dental work, which was first proposed in August 2008.

Powell took over the case from another social worker in February or March, according to testimony.

Two CPS employees testified paperwork moved slowly once it got to the desk of Garcia, who had to approve documents submitted to the court.

Powell said she complained to a superior about Garcia's "incompetence as a social worker."

Garcia testified he left Powell two voice mail messages and talked to her once in person about the dental procedure. Her response was, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it," he said.

Asked by Evans if Powell was a "poor social worker," Garcia responded, "I would say so, yes."

McClung summed up her case by saying Powell's forgery defrauded the dentist, who needed a legal document before doing surgery, and damaged the credibility of CPS and the courts.

Hansen scheduled sentencing for Sept. 18. Powell could be sentenced on just one of three fraud charges, or could serve concurrent sentences on all three, he said. Two of the charges are "wobblers," he said, meaning they could be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.

If Powell is incarcerated, it will be in jail, not prison, according to McClung.

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