Where are the Turpin kids now: California social services system ‘failed’ the siblings, probe finds

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The 13 Turpin siblings were rescued in 2018 from captivity at their parents’ home in California, were “failed” by the social service system that was supposed to care for them and help them transition into society, according to a report issued Friday by outside investigators hired by Riverside County.

The video shown is from a previous report.

“Some of the younger Turpin children were placed with caregivers who were later charged with child abuse,” the 630-page report states. “Some of the older siblings experienced periods of housing instability and food insecurity as they transitioned to independence.”

The eight-month investigation was commissioned in response to a investigation by ABC News as part of Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 special, “Escape From A House of Horror,” which aired last November, in which two of the Turpin brothers spoke for the first time about the challenges and hardships they’ve faced in the years since sheriff’s deputies saved them from a life sentence at home.

“With respect to the Turpin brothers, we conclude that many times over the past four years they received the care they needed from the county,” the report states. “This was not always the case, however, and too often the social service system failed them.”

The Turpin brothers were rescued in January 2018 from their home in Perris, California, after then-17-year-old Jordan Turpin carried out a daring escape in the middle of the night and called 911. Authorities then discovered that their parents had subjected them to brutal violence and deprived them of food, sleep, hygiene, education and health care.

David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to 14 felonies in 2019 and were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

“In short, while there are many examples of dedicated Riverside County staff succeeding despite systemic obstacles in their path, there are far too many examples of others falling behind or even failing outright,” the report states.

In response to the report, Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel said in a statement, “It is time to act, and I will support all efforts to meet the challenge.”

While many of the details in the report were redacted due to privacy rules, the investigation described some specific instances where services failed, as well as when they did. It also included a number of recommendations to reform the troubled systems that care for both adults and children in need in Riverside County.

In a statement, County Executive Jeff Van Wagenen, who commissioned the study, said the recommendations will “guide our ongoing efforts to improve outcomes in the coming days, weeks and months.”

Referring to its investigation of Riverside’s welfare system more broadly, the report found that there were “many examples of dedicated Riverside County staff who succeeded despite systemic obstacles in their path” — but ultimately that “there are too many other examples of falling short or even failed altogether’.

High turnover, lack of supervision, access to benefits

Investigators were tasked with investigating concerns raised in the Turpin case and examining the overall social service system in Riverside County — the nation’s tenth-largest county, whose $1 billion Department of Public Social Services serves nearly a million people annually .

In its analysis of the various parts of the county’s social services structure, the report paints a portrait of a staff-run system plagued by “inadequate compensation, overwhelming caseloads and inadequate support.”

In the children’s services department, for example, high staff turnover and vacancy rates of around 40% have “reached a crisis point”, the report says. However, the entire section of the report detailing the younger Turpin brothers’ experiences in the department was redacted, likely due to strict confidentiality laws governing records surrounding minors.

For adult residents of Riverside County, the report found housing to be a “particular area of ​​concern” and says that when it comes to state benefits, there is “no clear, service-level process” for the county to connect people with services they are entitled to. The grown Turpin children received additional security income, the inquest found, which was deposited into their estates.

Specifically, investigators found that none of the funds given to the Turpin brothers after their escape and rescue story made global headlines in 2018 were spent properly. However, he found that a large portion of these funds remained unspent and failure to do so “may have resulted in food and housing insecurity for at least some of the Turpin brothers”.

The researchers questioned why the public guardian — the court-appointed conservator responsible for helping adult siblings make decisions about their finances, health care and general well-being — did not distribute those funds, and noted that accounting books of these chapters were often “filed years after the due date.”

Separately, while the report mostly discussed those donations raised from the public in the wake of the brothers’ 2018 rescue, investigators also questioned why the public guardian made no effort “until recently” to obtain a separate total of nearly 1,000. $000 in public donations raised by the JAYC Foundation after the 20/20 report aired in November. A spokesperson for the JAYC Foundation said in a statement to ABC News on Friday that for its part, the foundation “has indeed begun disbursing funds to the Turpin brothers.”

In the review of the public guardian’s office, investigators found that “extremely high and complex caseloads, limited funding and a lack of oversight put clients at risk of having their needs unmet and their rights unprotected.” In fact, employees in this office handle 98-113 cases per person — about 3.5 times the recommended standard of 30 cases.

However, the report praised employees who “use flexibility and creativity to create care plans that aim to align with client wishes.”

The report also applauded the court-appointed legal representation provided to the Turpin children. All the brothers were represented at some point by Jack Osborn of the firm Brown White and Osborn, which investigators found to be “strongly and effectively supported.”

But the records showed “heated conflicts” between parties involved in the cases, including appointed counsel, the Riverside County District Attorney’s office and the Public Guardian.

He found that the infighting “perpetuates the acrimony and may have interfered with the development of trusting and confidential attorney-client relationships, especially given the Turpins’ vulnerability and inexperience with the legal system.”

Recommendations for improvement

The researchers shared a long list of recommendations for the county to consider in order to improve programs for children in foster care and vulnerable adults in their community. The recommendations will likely require significant costs to implement, although specific numbers were not included in the report.

To improve workplace performance, the researchers recommended that the county alleviate the stress placed on staff and social workers by reducing high workloads, increasing training and seeking to create an overall better system to support its social workers. county. The researchers further recommended that when faced with “critical” incidents, the county use these events as “system-wide” learning opportunities and conduct policy reviews to evaluate these situations.

To address concerns about the county’s foster care system, the researchers recommended increasing the number of “highly effective” foster families within the community and increasing oversight of these homes to ensure adequate quality of care. investigate complaints of mismanagement within the system, the report said.

A reduction in the number of critical incidents, increased stability for children placed in homes and fewer reports of maltreatment for children in care would be benchmarks of the program’s effectiveness, the researchers wrote. They said the county needs to improve the quality of care provided by families to foster children and that there should be increased support and communication with children to ensure their voices are heard in the process.

The researchers also said increased support is needed for public guardians and social workers serving vulnerable adults in the system. A reduction in caseloads, increased training and supervision and a significant salary increase could help improve staffing shortages, the report suggests.

The report also recommended that the county set a limit on the number of cases handled by a lawyer and improve communication between various agencies and the court, while also ensuring that clients have an opportunity to be heard within the system.

A Riverside County spokesman said in a statement that the county is “committed to finding innovative solutions and implementing recommendations from Larson LLP.”

The report is to be presented to the county Board of Supervisors during a public meeting on Tuesday.

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Where are the Turpin kids now: California social services system ‘failed’ the siblings, probe finds Source link Where are the Turpin kids now: California social services system ‘failed’ the siblings, probe finds

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