Grand Jury Blasts Sac County Child Protective Services

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The report’s title is “Nothing Ever Changes – Ever.”  It finds failures in transparency, training and human resources.  It openly questions the skills of top county managers.  And it says past reports have raised similar questions.  Don Prange is the jury’s foreman.
Prange: “I believe they want to work on them and I think some of the people there have some good intentions.  They just don’t appear to be completing the task that they should have been doing a long time ago.” 
Hunt: “First of all, I dispute that nothing ever changes.” 
Jim Hunt with the Countywide Services Agency says the county has made “dramatic” changes since the grand jury first started looking at Child Protective Services.  And he says the staff’s 20 percent turnover rate makes it even more challenging to deal with a case load that’s well above the statewide average.  But he says officials will assign a manager and a due date for each of the grand jury’s recommendations.
Hunt: “There has to be a commitment at the highest levels to make Child Protective Services one of the highest priorities of the county.  We have to do that more than in just name only.  There has to be consistent leadership from the top of the organization.  And right now, that’s my charge.” 
But that leadership has a new vacancy.  Health and Human Services Director Lynn Frank, whose department oversees Child Protective Services, resigned Tuesday night – hours before the grand jury released its report.