Top county official quits amid CPS controversy

Lynn Frank, the embattled head of the Sacramento County agency that oversees Child Protective Services, announced this afternoon that she is resigning.

Her resignation comes on the eve of the release of a report from the county grand jury that is expected to be harshly critical of CPS management and of the Health and Human Services Department, the agency Frank ran.

"I have decided to step down as your Director," Frank said in a memo emailed to workers and in a county news release. "It was not an easy decision."

Frank said she was resigning to take "personal time off to regain my health and my perspective." She will be on leave until June 30, then take a new, unspecified job with the county until Dec. 31, when she will retire after 24 years with the county.

Frank was not available for comment, a spokeswoman said. But in her email to workers she said she thought "that my departure will allow DHHS to move forward more quickly and may remove some of the focus that has been cast on DHHS."

Susan Peters, chairwoman of the board of supervisors, said she was not privy to the discussion between County Executive Terry Schutten and Frank about her departure. But, Peters added, "I do think it's time to look at new ways for DHHS to view its charge."

The agency has been under fire since the July 21 death of 4-year-old Jahmaurae Allen, who had been reported to CPS in June as a possible abuse victim. Despite that report, CPS did not make contact with Jahmaurae's family for a week, then closed the case as "unfounded."

He was beaten to death a month later - allegedly by his mother's live-in boyfriend - and The Bee subsequently reported that the case files were altered after that to change the finding from "unfounded" to "inconclusive" and, finally, to "substantiated."

The grand jury began its probe of CPS after Jahmaurae's death, and since then criticism of CPS and Frank's agency has cascaded as more information has surfaced about deaths of children who had been know to CPS.

"It's been a very difficult time for that department," Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan said. "It's a very large department. We know that there need to be changes made and changes are being made at Child Protective Services. It's a good time for Lynn to move on to other things."