Los Angeles Times

All-too-familiar DCFS story


Re “Two guilty in boy’s death,” March 8

Your article on the murder conviction of Anthony Avalos’ mother and her boyfriend noted that the Los Angeles County Department

of Children and Family Services “never made an attempt to remove the children from [the mother’s] custody and no DCFS employees have been discipline­d in connection with the case.”

Having lived for threequart­ers of a century, I can’t tell you how many times I have wept at this horrific story. It’s always the same: A helpless child is murdered by the parents or someone else, after the protection agency ignored multiple signs and warnings of abuse or torture. There is no accountabi­lity for the agents who failed to do their job.

What will it take to stop this endless train of tragedy? More money for more social workers? Better training and supervisio­n? New laws enforcing accountabi­lity for social workers’ neglect?

Alas, no amount of money or training or legislatio­n can instill common sense and compassion in an agent who does not already possess it. When will we, the people, ever care enough to demand that something instead of nothing be done? Shame on us all.

Preston Neal Jones Hollywood

I never read about how much work the DCFS does to help children and parents deal with sexual, physical and emotional abuse, in spite of high caseloads and inadequate salaries.

I was a social worker in L.A. County from the 1960s to the 1980s, and I found the caseloads were high then.

If The Times really wants to help, why doesn’t it write more about how inadequate the pay is for the high caseloads? Why not identify all the good work done over the years in a county where thousands of children are protected every single day? Gerald Orcholski


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