Adding to the criticism of Casa Pacifica, a Ventura County agency has recommended that the center improve its approach to monitoring its abused and neglected children and upgrade the center’s school.
The county’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission recommended that there be a more distinct separation of emergency shelter care children and longer-term group home residents.
It also suggests that shelter care students be segregated into two groups: those who have been placed in the program because of short-term parental problems and those who come from foster homes.
“This second group is a more experienced and hardened group of children,” Lawrence Fick, chairman of the commission, stated in the report.
The commission also recommended that whenever possible, the facility strive to hire teachers with complete credentials for its school, instead of those with emergency credentials. Casa Pacifica should also regularly evaluate its instructional programs and how students’ academic needs are met.
The report comes as a state agency is investigating possible problems at the shelter, which opened in 1994. Community Care Licensing, a division of the Department of Social Services, is in the middle of its investigation of Casa Pacifica.
Frequent instances of children leaving the grounds, the molestation of a toddler by an older resident, and insufficient reporting of incidents prompted the investigation in November.