LOS ANGELES – After five years at the helm of the largest child welfare system in America, Philip Browning will be retiring from Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services.
The agency’s 8,800 staffers learned about their director’s decision in a memo sent he sent out Wednesday, The Chronicle of Social Change reported.
“This is to notify you that I will be retiring from the county effective January 31, 2017, he wrote. Over the last 5 years, you have helped to make DCFS a much better department than when I arrived.”
When the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors hired him in 2011, Browning was the third DCFS director in nine months.
During his time in office, Browning’s tenure was marred by several high-profile child deaths, including the 2013 death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez in Palmdale.
That death prompted a Blue Ribbon Commission to release several recommendations in 2014, the most prominent of which was the creation of an Office of Child Protection to oversee the county’s protection efforts on behalf of children.
The department has a budget of $2.2 billion and employs 8,800 workers, including 4,000 children’s social workers, the Chronicle reported. DCFS oversees the cases of roughly 40,000 children.
There was no immediate comment from the Board of Supervisors.