Police in Torrance, Ca., raided a house in a drug bust last summer and found nine children living in squalor. Most were foster children under the care of the county Department of Children and Family Services, which failed to notice problems police conducted months of surveillance, the Los Angeles Times reports. In the raid no social workers were on hand, and police had to take care of them for several hours.
The Times says that the agency’s casework was so sloppy that routine visits by two social workers failed to note safety or hygiene problems in the overcrowded house. “Clearly, we missed some things,” said David Sanders, director of the Department of Children and Family Services. “To end up with children that we’re responsible for being in that environment is horrendous…. I don’t want these things to keep happening over and over again.”
Sanders wants higher standards for foster homes and more frequent visits by better-trained social workers. County leaders and large police departments are teaming up to prevent similar lapses in protecting children from drug or gang environments. Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Long Beach Police Chief Anthony W. Batts and Torrance Police Chief James Herren will announce the program today.