Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services under state investigation

Rod Louden, supervising children's social worker for Los Angeles DCFS at a Chatsworth DCFS office toga party.

The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services has been under fire in recent years with official commissions investigating high-profile deaths of children who had come in contact with the foster care system.

It’s being investigated again by state regulators for possible baby-selling charges. Allegations are being investigated that Los Angeles DCFS personnel were involved with taking babies from the child welfare system and transferring them privately for cash to unrelated families.

Investigors are looking into allegations that officials in the Los Angeles DCFS office engaged in a series of baby trafficking activities and coverup extending back 15 years, involving possibly large numbers of babies.

Allegations were that case workers and supervisors took babies from families in the child welfare system and transferred them to other families for fees of as much as $25,000, possibly more.

Just last January, the agency placed almost 21,000 children in homes, according to Los Angles DCFS records. More than 7,200 babies from birth to two-years-old were in the child welfare system. Ten percent of those children were white, while 60 percent were Hispanic and 25 were African American.

DCFS internal affairs investigators and investigators  from the California Board of Behavioral Science (BBS) have opened cases on the alleged activities. BBS investigators last week interviewed Rod Louden, and others in connection with allegations of wrongdoing in the Los Angeles DCFS office.

Louden is a supervising children’s social worker for Los Angeles DCFS, an agency he has been with since 1996. Louden also is a licensed marriage and family therapist with an office at Woodland Hills.  Reached at his Chatsworth DCFS office, Louden declined to answer any questions, referring all inquiries to a supervisor.

Interviews and recommendations were forwarded to officials at Sacramento for a decision of whether to seek indictments against officials in the Los Angeles DCFS office and others associated with possible baby trafficking. It was not immediately known when a decision would be made.

The latest official panel to investigate the agency publicly was the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection. It issued a final report last April proposing a series of reforms. This followed a similar 2013 panel that also examined the agency.

The 2014 commission conducted 15 public hearings, interviewed more than 300 stakeholders across all program areas related to child-safety..The final report called for an immediate systemwide transformation and a mechanism to ensure its implementation.