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Child Deaths

June 30, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
The tip that abuse was taking place in the Long Beach home where 2-year-old Joseph Byrd lived came to Los Angeles County child welfare officials nearly two months ago. But 57 days after opening an investigation into the allegations, social workers had yet to determine if Joseph was at risk when the toddler was pronounced dead Saturday. Coroner's officials have listed the case as a homicide. At the time of Joseph's death, social workers were still looking into allegations of abuse and neglect in a family that already had been investigated five times, according to sources familiar with their history.
June 16, 2010 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Mexico's human rights ombudsman Wednesday blamed the army for the April shooting deaths of two children that stoked a raging debate over the military's role as a domestic police force. Raul Plascencia, president of the National Human Rights Commission, rejected the military's assertion that the van in which the two boys were riding near the U.S. border was caught in a cross-fire between soldiers and gunmen. Plascencia said the wounds resulted from "direct and discretionary" fire by Mexican troops.
March 15, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf and Anna Gorman
A foster mother and her boyfriend are under investigation in the death of a 2-year-old child in their care who was beaten with a hammer, according to authorities and coroner's records. Viola Vanclief's death March 4 is the latest in a series of troubles linked to United Care Inc , a nonprofit foster care agency that contracts with Los Angeles County to provide shelter for abused and neglected children. Records show that United Care, which oversees 88 homes with 216 foster children, has been repeatedly cited in recent years after caregivers choked, hit and whipped their charges with a belt.
February 26, 2010 | By Jaime O'Neill
The town is called Paradise, and there's more than a little unintended irony in the name. There's really nothing particularly paradisiacal about the place. It sits atop a ridge that looks down on the northern stretch of California's Central Valley. There are lots of towns like it up and down the Sierra, towns where lots of marginal people go to live in the margins these mountains provide, places where things are a little cheaper, a little less daunting and where illicit activities like meth labs and child abuse are easy to shield from view.
February 13, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf
Los Angeles County's embattled child welfare agency has clamped down on the release of information about 12 recent deaths among children who have passed through the child welfare system. The decision follows a series of articles in The Times last year that detailed flawed casework. The cases prompted some reforms at the county's Department of Children and Family Services, including enhanced training for social workers. But the state law that allowed much of the information to reach the public has been a source of discontent for Department of Children and Family Services Director Trish Ploehn.
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.
August 24, 2009 | Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Relatives and neighbors of a 10-year-old South Gate boy who was struck and killed in a crosswalk Saturday called on city officials to install more safety devices at the busy intersection. Ricardo Mercado was killed while crossing Tweedy Boulevard at San Vincente Avenue with his mother and two sisters at 11:24 a.m. They were on their way home after buying Popsicles at a nearby store. A woman driving a Volkswagen SUV was making a left turn from San Vincente Avenue onto Tweedy Boulevard when she struck the family, said Sgt. Tim Williams of the South Gate Police Department.
August 4, 2009 | Victoria Kim
In a victory for the Los Angeles Police Department, a judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit filed by the mother of a toddler killed by a SWAT officer's bullet during an attempted hostage rescue in 2005. The case before L.A. County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu was set to go to the jury this week after SWAT officers and police experts completed their testimony in a two-week trial.
April 30, 2009 | Jeffrey Fleishman
Beyond smokestacks and whipped donkeys, past fish curled on dirty ice and sparrows skimming laundry hanging in alleys, the death of 6-year-old Ali Mohammed Ali brought mystery, health inspectors and truckloads of police to a poor Cairo neighborhood. Ali, a first-grader and computer wizard from Shubra el Kheima, died last week in a hospital, his lungs full of fluid, a stent in his chest.
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