State Launches Audits of 2 Child Welfare Agencies

From Times Staff Reports

State Controller Kathleen Connell launched audits Thursday of the finances of Los Angeles and Sacramento counties' child welfare agencies.

The audits will trace the hundreds of millions of dollars in foster care funds spent by Los Angeles' Department of Children and Family Services and its smaller counterpart in Sacramento. A spate of child deaths in Los Angeles and a critical report by the Sacramento County Grand Jury helped spark the probe, said staffers in Connell's office.

Los Angeles County receives $446 million annually in foster care funding, which it is supposed to pass on to foster parents, group homes or other entities that care for the county's nearly 40,000 foster children. Sacramento's annual tab is $93 million, officials said.

"We want to make sure the money's following the children," said Lisa Casalegno, a spokeswoman for Connell.

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