Many Children in State Foster Care System Receive Inadequate Medical Care, Report Finds
An estimated 25% of children in the state's foster care system do not receive "timely" medical care, and 50% do not receive adequate mental health services, according to a report released Tuesday by the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state watchdog group, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report found that thousands of children in the foster care system receive inadequate care because neither the state nor counties takes responsibility for reforms. The report, titled "Still in Our Hands: A Review of Efforts to Reform Foster Care," recommends that Gov. Gray Davis (D) and state lawmakers appoint a statewide czar to oversee the foster care system, which served 91,509 children in 2002. In addition, the report recommends that the state transform the Ombudsman Office for Foster Care into a child welfare inspector general with the authority to investigate complaints and evaluate foster care agencies. Although child welfare advocates "applauded the report for pressing the issue of accountability," state officials said that the appointment of a czar to oversee the foster care system would establish additional bureaucracy without addressing problems in the system, the Times reports (Rivera, Los Angeles Times, 2/5). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.