L.A. Now Live: Pitfalls of private foster care endanger children

Kiana Barker faces 25 years to life in prison for killing Viola, "Vicki" Van Clief, a toddler under her care.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Join Times staff writer Garrett Therolf at 9 a.m. for a live chat on his series of articles on the foster care system and how missteps have led to tragic consequences for the very children it’s supposed to protect.

Los Angeles County officials said Wednesday that they were launching a review of the criminal clearance process for foster parents selected by private agencies following a Times report that included information about children killed or maimed by caregivers previously convicted of crimes.

Therolf has also detailed how California’s modest experiment nearly three decades ago of privatizing a portion of foster care went off course.


FULL STORY: Times report on the private foster care system

Today, the state’s private foster family system - the largest in the nation - has become more expensive and more dangerous than the government-run homes it has largely replaced.

Therolf has also written about new approaches to the issue in other states, including Tennessee, and has delved into the life of a child, Jada, and how her case highlights problems in the foster care system.

Therolf will be available on the L.A. Now Live discussion starting at 9 a.m. to answer readers’ questions and discuss the ramifications of what he’s reported so far.