A six-day strike over high caseloads for Los Angeles County children’s social workers has wrapped up as a contract agreement has been tentatively reached, but not before one family says the work walk-off cost them in court.
Following two days of intense bargaining, the Department of Children and Family Services employees said an “unprecedented agreement” was made Friday.
"It wasn't easy, but we made history," said Chychy Ekeochah, children’s social worker and leader of their bargaining team. "Because we put it on the line, the County accepted our proposals to protect children."
But for one family, the strike's end came a little too late.
Anthony Rogers, of North Carolina, feels his family is a victim of the strike he said it hobbled his case in court to get his grandson out of foster care.
“The judge was very apologetic,” Rogers said. “She was kind of disappointed that they didn’t have the report.”
Rogers said the report wasn’t ready because workers were on strike.
Marcus Singleton, Rogers’ son, wants his parents to get temporary custody of his son James. Rogers said James’ mother is in drug rehab.
“I’m upset that my father is going home on Sunday and he’s not going to be able to see my son again until the next time he comes out here to court,” Singleton said. “We weren’t expecting this.”
Some 1,600 of the more than 3,000 social workers within the DCFS walked off the job for the demonstration on Dec. 5. Employees said they were carrying an unreasonable number of caseloads that didn’t allow them to properly care for the children.
The workers were calling for the county to hire 595 new workers over the course of 17 months.