Abuse or abandonment leads to official custody and then a succession of foster parents who aren't prepared to cope with them as individual human beings. That's the story of foster children, and it makes for great drama. But it also demonstrates a staggering failure of public policy--and it's all too familiar in Los Angeles County. The County Grand Jury is the latest to report on a system so disorganized that it doesn't know on a given day where all the foster kids are. A department that doesn't tell foster parents that kids are diseased. A department so overburdened that social workers have just a half-hour or less to spend with each kid every month. Are things getting better? How has the novel, White Oleander focused attention on problems within the system?
On Reporter's Notebook, the federal government warns you: Don't phone and drive.
On the Newsmaker segment, a lawsuit brings more pressure to re-open discussion on opening the 200 million dollar Belmont Learning Center to students, despite the environmental hazards unearthed.