The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is reviewing how to handle the Children’s Trust Fund Unit after an audit found that inappropriate payments were made, thousands of toys weren’t given out, and most fundraising efforts were ineffective. The Children’s Trust Fund Unit is part of the Department of Children and Family Services and it is tasked with raising money for foster kids’ needs that aren’t covered by other sources such as holiday gifts or summer camp trips. The audit, conducted at the request of department management, found that the unit lacked oversight and disregarded internal controls, which led to misspent and unaccounted for donations. Jennifer Rexroad, a foster parent and executive director of an advocacy group called the California Alliance of Caregivers, stated:
The Children’s Trust Fund is needed to enhance the lives of L.A.’s children in foster care. It would be a tragedy if children suffered the loss of donations and special opportunities meant for them. Many people want to help foster children but can’t foster, and instead they give money. It’s important… to have a place where people can make monetary and other donations that eventually make it to benefit the child.
One example of mismanagement within the unit is that about a quarter of $140,000 in event tickets to places such as baseball games and theme parks were issued to outside entities instead of foster kids or simply went missing. Auditor- Controller John Naimo recommended that the department consider disbanding the unit due to the audits findings. Brandon Nichols, the acting director of Children and Family Services, said the department has taken steps to correct the issues within the unit. Hopefully, the Board of Supervisors can either fix the issues within the unit or find an alternative to shutting down an organization that is supposed to help foster children.
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