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Proposed county budget cuts include four advocates for foster kids

May 11, 2009 - 2:26 pm

Tomorrow the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to cut 79 currently-filed positions from the county budget (and 771 vacant spots). Many (probably most) of the cuts are tied to cuts in state funding. The public defender’s office, for instance, stands to lose four child-advocacy investigators whose jobs were funded by the state Administrative Office of the Courts. Joe Kownacki, who heads the county public defenders union, explained that the investigator’s job is to check on the safety and well-being of kids who’ve been removed from their homes: “They talk to the kids, see what the living conditions are.” Here’s the full job description from the county website. It’s a pretty gnarly job that pays $56,000 to $68,000 a year:

  1. Investigates Juvenile Court dependency matters involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and delinquency matters.
  2. Interviews the child client.
  3. Interviews and subpoenas witnesses.
  4. Photographs home sites, crime scenes, and other items of evidence.
  5. Gathers information from schools, public and private agencies, evaluators, therapists, and other parties involved in dependency and delinquency cases.
  6. Prepares written reports for use in the evaluation and defense of the child’s case.
  7. Assists in preparing the child client for testimony, and/or serves as support person for the child going through the court process.
  8. Assists the attorney in arranging appearances of witnesses at trial and hearings, and in preparing presentations of evidence.
  9. Testifies in court.
  10. Evaluates the appropriateness of proposed placements for the minor.
  11. Locates and works with alternative placements regarding disposition of delinquency cases, and assists attorneys in all phases of dispositions.
  12. Assesses the child’s placement between review hearings, the provision of support services to the child and family, and the efforts by parents at reunification.
  13. Advises the attorney on child’s adjustment, behavior, and needs.
  14. Evaluates progress toward a permanent plan for the child.

There are currently 11 investigators, Kownacki said, so eliminating four will leave seven.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 12, 2009 - 1:07 pm 1:07 pm

    Yeah, it figures they would do this. Many of the placements and agencies that work with San Diego’s foster kids would love to see all of these positions removed, and the Supervisors are often deeply in their pockets. Nasty business.

    I’ll bet the DA gets a few new positions to prosecute foster kids in particular and some right-wing group nails a big grant to reunify victims of sexual abuse with their inappropriately loving parents…

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