DPSS Customer Service …

Needs an update. “14545 Lanark Street” has not been the Van Nuys DPSS office for over a year yet thos is the address the automated system gives out.


14545 Lanark St is an abandoned and boarded up building with homeless people living in the underground parking , or thos was true the last time I looked at it.
The correct location is the Zev Yaroslavsky Family Service building just past The Plant on Van Nuys Blvd.

Also, it is super hard to navigate to the point of speaking to a customer service rep. It took me 20 minutes of menu hopping before discovering  the key sequence , and for 10 more minutes I have been on hold.

Mis-information and hidden services are not “effective and caring service”. I am sure the county means to do better.
I also had to keep the call center worker from giving out a worker’s phone number just becaise it was ” too hard” for him to look up a case.

Homeless Services are Supposed to Help.

I love Los Angeles and admire the DPSS programs and @SheilaKuehl the BOS member for my neighborhood. After 11 years of working with and around them I have a deep appreciation for them.
So imagine how horrified I am to find out that someone has been homeless for years and has been asking the system for help but not finding any relief.

I just spoke to a mother who “timed out” of the system years ago. When she went into the game program for assistance, her worker was the woman who replaced me at Maximus in Burbank. I know this worker. I trained this worker. This worker knows what to do. 

Nevertheless, this mother was never offered the opportunity to complete her high school diploma which is a major stepping stone chords finding permanent employment or earning enough money to end the poverty of her family. She was placed in a work training program which is a wonderful step but now she has to find her own permanent employment and she is greatly hindered by the lack of educational milestones. She was also not informed of the resources available to her children to pay to get them to school while she came to work. Her small subsidized paycheck has been used to pay for hotel rooms for her family and bus fare for her children. Theoretically the County of Los Angeles would be able to help her pay for the hotel room and get her into a shelter and I’d be paying for her children’s bus fare.
I know you think this may sound excessive and entitled. You are absolutely wrong. Parrots cannot go look for work if their children do not have a safe place to be. If they don’t have a safe home we can spend time in or childcare or somebody will watch them or a school where they can be supervised and learning, a mother or father is that tied to their children. You may have noticed an employer’s do not enjoy it when your bring your family to work with you. Addressing the child care issue and transportation for children is a major step and finding employment and ending poverty for their family. It is one of the reasons I really appreciate the DPSS program.
So this mother is staying in a hotel and connect it to the local shelter which is connected to DPSS and overseen by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. My suggestion is that she contact Sheila kuehl and ask for additional assistance and review of her case.

Just talking to this Mom, I could feel how helpless she was feeling and he’ll frustrated she was. I could see how the term and she’s been and also track all the positive step she’s been making to improve her life and the lives of her children. This mother is doing everything right and somehow everything is going wrong for her. I take it personally, because if I were still a gain worker, this would not be her situation. I hope.

In the E.R. with NO health Insurance 

Yesterday I was admitted to the Emergency Room for neuropathy and dizziness .   I had called the advice nurse the night before and was told to come in immediately. As you know I am a single mother, so I had to wait until I had child care.

I walked into Urgent Care and they plopped me into a wheelchair and sent me to the E.R. where I was informed that I would need to agree to pay out of pocket for my visit.

Wait. What?

I sent the County of Los Angeles HR about $1600 a month to continue my benefits at the same level as when I was paid. this is a better rate the going Cobra for myself and my daughters. I have called several times to double check the amount and check for receipt of payment, so why does Kaiser think my coverage ended October 31st ?

I declined medical tests  yesterday out of fear that I could not pay for them. I refused a CT scan because I can’t pay for that. Who could?

Today I called and the HR accounting of my payments is 1 shy of what my bank says I paid, but HR insists that I have coverage but the “group plan” changed. Gee, I specifically asked them about the letter I received from Kaiser telling me to cut up my membership card because it is not  valid and was told by the County of Los Angeles to “disregard ” that letter and left with the impression that I didn’t need to follow up with KP.org.

Get it together people! 

This is me, in a hospital bed wondering how I am going to pay for my visit and wondering get if I can just learn to live with the numbness… it isn’t like I’ve ever hopped up and broken a leg because I couldn’t feel it…oh wait, I have and now I limp so I really want to find out what’s going on !

I and my in sabbatical from the county this year while I work on my MSW at USC. incase you and mrenfrew@ausd.net wondering if have earned all A’s and joined the Honor Society so I am making the most of my time. I do love working in the Calworks, Medi-Cal , and CalFresh programs and my home office is amazing, but I do wonder if they are sending me a message. Part of the reason I decided to take the sabbatical is because a supervisor told me I was too  fat and would squish my desk mate

Can I ask for the money back since I wasn’t able to use the services I paid for (medical and dental)?  I am borrowing out of my retirement to pay for insurance that I don’t have and have not had for 3 months! Isn’t it a crime to take money for a good or service and then casually refuse to provide the service or good ?  Should I protest? Do I call the union? 

What is going on?

Los Angeles County DPSS Mobile App.


What a great idea!
I look forward to it being tuned and improved and a convenient point of service.

Until then, I will continue to follow cases on the Department of Public and Social Services Internet site.



Who is really on the Board of Supervisors?


Every day I walk under these framed photos and wonder how no one else in a County Office realizes the pictures are wrong. Sorry Don Knabe, you don’t really exist – which is sad because you’re awesome. As much as I dig Zev, it is time to let Sheila Kuehl stand alone.

Come on West Valley Department of Public and Social Services and contracted GAIN Services  provider … catch up!

Drugs, Alcohol, and Welfare. Butt Out

cocaine, coke, dollar, welfareWelfare and Drugs : the Only 2 Things You Should Care About When They Mix

“I don’t want my tax dollars used for drugs” “Poor people are poor because they make bad choices, poor people on drugs are criminals.” , “Poor People? We hate them!”.

Oh my god, get over yourself and shut up. Just shut it.

You should not care more if someone on public aid using drugs than you care if the coworker next to you is on drugs.

There are only two things you should care about.

  1. Is the drug and alcohol use interfering with them ending their poverty
  2. Are they capable parents while being involved with substances?

Accepting public cash aid is not the same as opening your diary to the world and inviting them to judge your choices. Nowhere in the thick pile of paper is there a place to sign away your privacy and invite the general public in to tell you how to live.

Also, there is no vow of sobriety to take when applying for public assistance benefits.

Many people use substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and combinations of these as a way to self-medicate emotional and mental health issues. Those issues are what needs to be addressed.

If substance use is actually substance abuse, I direct people into evaluations for treatment. This is California, no one can be forced into treatment, but there are consequences for not being a competent parent. Child Services will become involved.


There are consequences for not being stable enough to look for work or hold down employment and transition to financial self-sufficiency – you lose access to public assistance.

The View Doesn’t Know Welfare

On “The View”, @theviewtv, Welfare was described as placating poor people and rewarding them for not working.
The View is Blind to Truth
If you have been here for a minute or more, you know I work in the Welfare to Work program.


Whoopi says that Welfare takes money from workers making employment not appealing. The simple fact is; You will never have less money than you do right now!
At a certain income point a cash aid reward will start a reduction. However- the income is replacing Welfare money not taking it away. You will still have a profit margin of money earned BEFORE the cash grant is reduced.

As for the idea that Welfare demoralizes people and rewards them for not working :what are you talking about? Are you familiar with Welfare Reform under the Bill Clinton Administration?

When adult cash aid was assigned a time limit it also gained a Welfare to Work component.

After 30 days on cash aid a parent is enrolled in Welfare to Work. The first item of business in W2W is emploument. The purpose of GAIN (as Los Angeles County calls welfare to work) is to prepare parents for employment and help them find work. The usual first activity is a job search, then vocational assessment to define a suitable work goal, and then whatever is needed to help the client get that job. 

Los Angeles County DPSS is a mess


I am sure the system means well, but @countyofLA  @dpss_calfresh is freaking me out.
I can’t figure out how to close the SNAP case or update my information. I am locked out of the online system and calling this number ALWAYS results in a termination message of “We can not find your information. Good bye”.

I never had a chance to do more than request my Language choice before the system threw me out.

I have attempted to email the worker I applied through at MEND. I also attempted to fax a SAR but the fax did not go



Why don’t we have an Ombudsman for these Federal-state County benefit sefvices?

How can I apply?

It has been my experience that the Board of Supervisors are wonder, effective people. All of the County Employees believe in the programs they work in. Somehow, there is a disconnect and the systems are set up for failure. Right now I feel like the failure for not being able to navigate the system.

Private Vocational Training vs. Public

Community Colleges and Occupational Centers don’t advertise.
They don’t have to. In High School all of the counselors talk to the students about college options and many kids go directly to community college. Others don’t get into the 4 year they want and then do the time and basic transfer units at a community college. Others, finding that state hospitals and other adult programs were cut in the early 1990’s – have found Community Colleges as a great place to spend the day with enrichment classes or exploring their passions.

Private Vocational “Colleges” have some of my favorite commercials ever. They are inspirational and even make me want to go. *Disclaimer, I started calling the numbers on my television in an attempt to get a vocational certificate when I was 12. Hey, I had the free time and wanted to start ahead of the game. My mother quickly ruined that dream and pushed me into traditional education Well, she was a school teacher and all.

“Hey you, get up off that couch! What are you waiting for? Start living today and be able to go to nice lunches with your friends in shiny red cars and support your family of 5 and for the first time ever make your parents proud of you!”

Um, okay.

No. Not okay.

For many (not all) of the educational programs offered, you can find the same trainings at a public school. The cost is far less and sometimes free. Sometimes it even costs less to go to a private 4 year school and apply for the financial aid and grants and scholarships. (I love you University of La Verne ! )

If you are a low income parent, you may qualify for the Board of Governors Grant and then qualify for with a CARE or GAIN or EOPS program to help you with fees and supplies and transportation and child care costs.

However, if you dropped out of high school – physically or mentally – you may have missed this message form your guidance staff and community colleges don’t advertise. All you will see are adverts from the diploma mills or businesses that need you to come in and sign up for Federal Financial Aid so they can have the money and run their business. They may not be education centered, first and foremost.

Do what is best for you. Do it fully informed.

This week I listened to a presentation from a private school about tuition costs and he handed out this flyer. I fixed it for you.