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L.A. County child death investigator is hired

County supervisors approve attorney Rosemarie Belda for the post. She will investigate the cases of children who die while in the county's care and recommend reforms.

September 16, 2009|Garrett Therolf

Filling a job that has been vacant for three years, Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday narrowly approved the hiring of an attorney to investigate the cases of children who die while in the county's care.

To take the post, Rosemarie Belda will leave the Office of County Counsel, where she has represented the Department of Children and Family Services, the agency that will now be a central target of her reports.

In addition to investigating child deaths, she has been asked to recommend reforms that might prevent future fatalities.

Supervisor Gloria Molina, who voted in closed session against Belda's hiring, said the attorney lacked the skills necessary to do the job.

Molina said that in closed session, three other supervisors voted in favor of hiring Belda and another abstained. A spokeswoman for the supervisors said she could not immediately release the votes.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who declined to give his closed session vote, said he was optimistic that Belda would show independence and provide impartial, penetrating reports. --

garrett.therolf@latimes.com

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