PLAN TO FIX MACLAREN UNVEILED COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER CHANGES.Byline: Troy Anderson Staff Writer
In response to recent revelations of children injured by staff members at MacLaren Children's Center, Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. County officials released a series of proposals Friday that calls for more managerial oversight and a streamlined way to handle children at the shelter for abused and emotionally troubled youths.
The report, which comes after years of promises from county officials that they would take steps to improve conditions at the center, found services at the shelter are uncoordinated un·co·or·di·nat·ed
1. Lacking physical or mental coordination.
2. Lacking planning, method, or organization.
un and have resulted in children spending months and even more than a year at a shelter intended for 30-day stays.
The report calls for strengthening oversight and assessing the knowledge and skill levels of staff members so training programs can be offered to ensure the professional care of the children.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the report, which will be presented to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is the five member governing board of Los Angeles County, California. Members of the board of supervisors are elected by district, the current members as of April 2006 are:
-- MacLaren Director John Robbins' authority will be expanded, giving him full responsibility for the shelter and its budget and the power to fire or transfer unprofessional staff.
-- The county has already named five regional administrators, one for each supervisor's district, whose jobs will be to find alternative foster-care homes to keep children out of the overcrowded o·ver·crowd
v. o·ver·crowd·ed, o·ver·crowd·ing, o·ver·crowds
To cause to be excessively crowded: a system of consolidation that only overcrowded the classrooms. El Monte El Monte (ĕl mŏn`tē), city (1990 pop. 106,209), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1912. A residential, industrial, and commercial city in the San Gabriel Valley, El Monte manufactures furniture, electronic equipment, semiconductors, facility and to move those already there into homes sooner.
-- Instead of assigning multiple case workers to each child, the county plans to assign one case worker to each child. Each case worker will be responsible for 10 children.
``They will be surrogate mothers to the kids,'' county Chief Administrative Officer A chief administrative officer (CAO) is responsible for administrative management of private, public or governmental corporations. The CAO is one of the highest ranking members of an organization, managing daily operations and usually reporting directly to the chief executive David Janssen said. ``Every child who enters MacLaren will be assigned someone who will be responsible for every aspect of the child's care.''
Janssen, who since July 1 has chaired the Interagency in·ter·a·gen·cy
Involving or representing two or more agencies, especially government agencies. Children's Services Consortium charged with improving conditions at the shelter after the unsupervised death of a 12-year-old boy in 1997, will present the report to the Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Gloria Molina Gloria Molina is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the current chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Molina grew up as one of ten children in the Los Angeles suburb of Pico Rivera, California, U.S. , whose district includes MacLaren, said she is very impressed with the plan.
``It really seems to outline what the major issues are at MacLaren and provide a very special plan of action to address those issues,'' Molina said. ``It outlines a much stronger case management system for each child so one case manager will essentially act as their parent to ensure they are taken care of from beginning to end.
``And it also will make it clear as to who is accountable for providing quality services to these children.''
Last week, the Daily News revealed that conditions at the center, which houses about 150 children, have prompted lawsuits and raised questions about why a shelter that spends $923 per child per day is failing to serve the children's needs.
Manhattan Beach Manhattan Beach, city (1990 pop. 32,063), Los Angeles co., S Calif., on Santa Monica Bay; inc. 1912. It is a residential and beach community with an oil refinery and nearby factories that produce transportation and electrical equipment, computers, and pottery. attorney Sanford Jossen, who filed a class-action lawsuit last month on behalf of six children, alleging that MacLaren staff members broke or strained their arms and slammed them into the ground and furniture, said putting regional administrators in charge of finding foster homes for the youths and having one case worker per child are long-overdue reforms.
``The one-on-one social worker, I think, is a good idea because there has been no consistent adult figure in any of these kids' lives,'' Jossen said.
As a result of anecdotal reports that the number of children complaining of staff members abusing them rose dramatically after the center's decision a few years ago to eliminate a ``cooling off'' room for upset kids, Janssen said the county is considering reopening the room.
Instead of using physical restraints to control children who were out of control, staff members previously put them in a padded room where they could cool off. But use of the room was discontinued after child advocates complained it was cruel and unusual punishment Such punishment as would amount to torture or barbarity, any cruel and degrading punishment not known to the Common Law, or any fine, penalty, confinement, or treatment that is so disproportionate to the offense as to shock the moral sense of the community. .
``Reopening the cooling-off room is an issue I'll have to explore,'' said Jossen, whose lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages Monetary damages, in civil law, refers to compensation given to an injured party by a liable party. Monetary damages may be restitution, a penalty, or both. and various reforms at MacLaren. ``The idea of enforced isolation is troubling to me.''
The report does not ask staff members to discontinue the use of restraints, but it requires Robbins to discipline those who act inappropriately and to report to the consortium within two hours when children are harmed.
``Regarding the continued use of restraints, if it is to be used at all, there has to be training provided and there should be other means employed before restraints are used,'' Jossen said. ``I'm more concerned about the overall atmosphere at MacLaren, which precipitated the type of circumstances that result in minors having to be physically restrained by adults.''
Jossen said he likes the idea of Robbins' ability to hire and fire.
``That may be a good thing in the sense that the buck will presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. stop with him, and everyone will know who to look to if things go wrong or who to credit if things go right,'' Jossen said.