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Glitches in New Computer System Cause L.A. County’s Child Protection Agency to Miss Hundreds of Payments to Foster Parents

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Glitches in a new computer system at Los Angeles County’s child protection agency have caused hundreds of missed payments to foster care parents, group home managers and others receiving public assistance, according to county officials.

Philip Browning, head of the county Department of Children and Family Services, listens to a woman who cares for her granddaughter after a 2012 talk to caregivers in South Central. (Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Philip Browning, head of the county Department of Children and Family Services, listens to a woman who cares for her granddaughter after a 2012 talk to caregivers in South Central. (Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Those living paycheck to paycheck found themselves in dire straits. One young woman said she was kicked out of her apartment. Another had to wait in food lines to find something to eat. A group home manager said she had to borrow thousands of dollars from friends to make payroll.

The problem stems from a new digital case file system implemented by the Department of Children and Family Services late last year, a conversion that county officials said was required by state law. About 500,000 cases had to be moved to the new system, according to DCFS officials.

The missed payments come at a particularly sensitive time for DCFS as officials face a critical shortage in foster care beds. Thousands of kids in recent years were moved to facilities not meant for long-term housing.

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