FROM Philip Browning
Are Psychiatric Meds Over-Prescribed to LA Foster Kids? Congress has ordered the states to improve their oversight of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs being given to kids when they're in foster care or the justice system. Nobody denies the challenge is daunting for a system that can't ever be perfect.
Social Workers Strike LA County The recent beatings and even deaths of children in county care have cast a negative spotlight on LA County's Department of Family and Children's Services. Last week, more than 2000 unionized social workers and supervisors stayed off the job — two-thirds of the workforce — as contract negotiations drag on.
Are LA Social Workers 'Set Up for Failure?' LA County's Department of Children and Family Services receives 160,000 child-abuse hotline calls every year. In February, a scathing report commissioned by the Board of Supervisors blamed bureaucrats and social workers for leaving children in unsafe homes. In July, new management moved swiftly to fire four child welfare workers in the case of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy allegedly tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend. Later that month, yet another panel was created to investigate and recommend "sweeping reforms." This week, the union of 55,000 workers sued the County , claiming that an arbitrator's ruling to reduce worker caseloads is being ignored.
LA County's Foster Care Crisis Is Worse than Ever Today's Los Angeles Times reports on what it calls a " crisis level " shortage of foster homes in Los Angeles County. There are fewer children needing placement, but they're among the hardest to place -- and the number of available homes is on the decline. The state is threatening to impose fines on Wednesday. We talk in a moment with the head of the Department of Children and Family Services and the Child Welfare Initiative , a nonprofit that works to improve the foster care system.
The LA County Department That's Allowed Children to Die Four years ago, Los Angeles County reported a backlog in child abuse investigations, which it called a "crisis." Now, the LA Times has uncovered a report filed in April of last year depicting a foster-care horror-show, including a case of torture and the deaths of 15 children as young as two from neglect and brutality. Caseworkers at the Department of Children and Family Services overlooked documented histories of abusive behavior on the part of foster parents and ignored hot-line complaints.
Tackling Hunger in Los Angeles County Two years ago, there were 1.7 million people in LA County at risk of being hungry -- that's close to 20 percent -- and there's no doubt their numbers are on the increase. But only about half of those eligible for food stamps know they could get help from the program.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.