VOSD Podcast: Cracks in the County’s Foster Care System - Voice of San Diego

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VOSD Podcast: Cracks in the County’s Foster Care System

In this week’s podcast, Union-Tribune reporter Morgan Cook joins hosts Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby to talk about a disturbing case of sexual abuse inside the county’s foster care system.

The San Diego County Administration Center / Photo by Sam Hodgson

Despite more than a dozen reports of suspected abuse of a pair of twin brothers in the county’s foster care system, the boys remained in the care of their abuser for years.

Union-Tribune reporter Morgan Cook explained what happened in an in-depth report this week.

In a lawsuit brought by twins, the boys say the county failed repeatedly to stop the sexual abuse by their foster father Michael Jarome Hayes, Cook reports. The county denies the  allegations and, in its response to the lawsuit, says “the twins ‘acted unreasonably, carelessly, and/or negligently in and about the matters alleged in the complaint in that they did not exercise ordinary care, caution, or prudence for their own safety and protection.'”

In this week’s podcast, Cook joins hosts Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby to talk about what the case says about the county’s foster care system.

The boys weren’t the only ones to report the abuse to county social workers. An educator, a lawyer, a psychologist and others also told social workers they suspected abuse.

“I think it’s pretty clear that a problem exists,” Cook said. “If the county takes children, places them with someone, the kids say that they’re being hurt, nobody does anything until that person’s arrested and then that person admits to hurting them, I think that’s a problem.”

Also on the podcast: debunking a myth about a hotel pool being open to the public, and a case that could throw a major wrench in the government’s policy of omitting from court docs whether a defendant being charged with entering the country illegally has actually asked for asylum.

Hero of the Week

Our hero this week is Los Angeles Times food writer Jonathan Gold. Gold, who died of pancreatic cancer on July 21, was an ambassador for Southern California cuisine, including San Diego’s beloved fish taco. He was known for elevating many hole-in-the wall restaurants across the region and was a mentor to many young journalists.

Goat of the Week

The goat goes to the County Board of Supervisors. This week, they pulled out some procedural tricks that will likely result in a measure that would reform county elections being held off the November ballot. The measure, which collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, would have forced all county races to go to a general election if approved. That would be good for Democrats, who do better in higher-turnout general elections. But rather than make solid policy arguments about the merits of the measure, the all-Republican board instead decided to commission a study on the change’s impact, effectively keeping the measure from going before voters until 2020.

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