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L.A. County to probe child welfare system

The Board of Supervisors orders the investigation to see what flaws in the system might have played a role in the deaths of three children.

August 19, 2009|Garrett Therolf

Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to launch an investigation into potential flaws in the child welfare system that might have played a role in the deaths of three children over the last month.

Child welfare authorities had at one point investigated the care of the three children who died.

Statistics show that in the last three years, a dozen children or more have died annually as a result of abuse or neglect despite the fact that their cases had come to the attention of social workers.

The investigation would be the first intensive look at such cases since 2006.

"The county of L.A. must do everything it can to determine what happened in these cases, and what lessons can be learned from these tragic events," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in his motion for the inquiry.

Under the terms of the motion, the county's auditor-controller will conduct an inquiry in coordination with the Department of Children and Family Services and the Los Angeles County district attorney into the deaths of Dae'von Bailey, Lars Sanchez and Jasmine Granados.

The probe will include contacts with the family services department, all other county departments, law enforcement and private agencies.

Dae'von was beaten to death, allegedly by his mother's former boyfriend; Lars was decapitated by his mentally ill mother; and Jasmine died under suspicious circumstances while in foster care.

In an interview, Ridley-Thomas said that any information not protected by confidentiality laws would be released.

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garrett.therolf@latimes.com

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