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Child Safety

With no votes to spare, the state Senate on Tuesday approved legislation requiring all bicycle riders in California under the age of 18 to wear crash helmets or pay a fine of $25. A 21-13 vote, the precise majority required, sent the proposal back to the Assembly, which narrowly approved it two months ago. If it wins Assembly passage again, as expected, it will go to an uncertain future at the hands of Gov. Pete Wilson.
April 21, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The key lines in the final report of the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, which was released late Friday and comes before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, may be two sentences that don't use the words "foster care," "child death," "Dependency Court" or "early intervention. " They deal instead with the question of just why a government with vast resources at its disposal can't seem to put them together to protect children from abuse and neglect. "The problem is not that county leaders and workers do not care," the report says.
It was the light fixtures that turned off the Castaic school district trustees. Since September 1994, they have been trying to secure millions of dollars in federal earthquake-mitigation funds to move the 638-student Castaic Elementary School, which sits in the shadow of the dam that holds back half-mile-long Castaic Lake and is bordered by high-voltage power lines and oil pipelines to boot. The paperwork pace has been maddeningly slow, board members say.
December 6, 2013 | By Seema Mehta and Abby Sewell
Striking social workers took to the picket lines for a second day Friday, with no progress reported in negotiations with Los Angeles County and a probable escalation of work-site actions next week by the county's largest public-employee union. "We intend to ramp it up," said Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU Local 721, which represents 55,000 county employees - including 3,600 social workers and their supervisors - who have been working without a contract for two months. "This is not going to be an easy fight.
The school locker, long feared as a repository of drugs and weapons, is making a comeback. Some administrators are returning the metal boxes to campus, figuring it's better than creating a generation of students with back problems. In one Orange County school district, a board member who watched a student wobble and fall over from the weight of her backpack has proposed reinstalling lockers in middle schools.
January 21, 2002
Parents aren't the only adults who should have up-to-date child safety information. For a free copy of "Helping Every Generation Care for Kids," write the National Safe Kids Campaign at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004, or e-mail
March 18, 1996 | FRANK MANNING
A child-safety seminar will be held Saturday at the Gelson's Village shopping center in Calabasas. The event, at 22277 Mulholland Highway, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will be on hand to fingerprint children and booths will be set up to offer tips on topics such as water and bicycle safety. The first 300 families will receive free safety identification kits that include iron-on labels designed to help identify lost or injured children.
November 24, 1999
Instead of the usual angst drivers might feel when pulled over for a traffic violation, gratitude was the common sentiment Tuesday morning when LAPD's West Bureau Traffic Division flagged down about 15 cars for improper child safety belt use. At a traffic checkpoint at Venice Boulevard near La Brea Avenue, officers provided instruction on the use of child car seats instead of writing citations. The effort was part of the biannual, weeklong America Buckles Up Children Mobilization Week.
August 16, 1989 | LYNN SIMROSS, Times Staff Writer
Two years ago, Calabasas businessman Robert Sacks decided he needed to take a hard look at child safety in his home--and beyond--after his 2-year-old son, Brandon, almost electrocuted himself by sticking a nail into a wall socket. "I thought we had been pretty careful," Sacks recalled last week. But the accident "made me aware we had a problem in the house. I started looking into child safety in the home. But I found no information, no booklets, no agency in existence dealing" with the problem.
May 14, 1999
The death of 3-year-old Elijah J. Johnson while under the supervision of the Los Angeles County agency responsible for protecting neglected and abused children is a tragedy that should push the Board of Supervisors to action. The board should approve a new leadership team for the Department of Children and Family Services before public confidence is further eroded by this, the second death of a child in foster care in 13 months.
July 29, 2013 | By Seema Mehta
A blue-ribbon commission tasked with examining Los Angeles County's embattled child welfare agency begins work this week on a sweeping reform effort that officials hope can stem persistent cases of child abuse and deaths. Much of the panel's focus has been on fixing the troubled Department of Child and Family Services. But county political leaders, child welfare managers and commission appointees say the review will include the role law enforcement, school districts and county public health and mental health agencies have played in failing to protect children in abuse cases.
May 4, 2013
It's not often that an article appearing deep inside the paper touches a nerve with readers. But the story of a 2-year-old Kentucky toddler accidentally shot and killed by her 5-year-old brother with a rifle he received as a gift drew nearly a dozen letters, a sizable haul for a short article appearing on Page A-13 of Thursday's Times. Reader Lynn Segal of Woodland Hills, whose letter was published Friday, objected to the article being "relegated" to inside the paper, arguing that "firearms responsibility is one of the top issues of our time.
July 10, 2012
The law sounds logical, at least at first: If a parent caused a child's death through abuse or neglect, then the other children in that parent's care can be made court dependents, and child welfare workers can remove them from their home. Imagine a house in which a child was beaten to death, or died of starvation. It stands to reason that other children living there are at risk. The home is dangerous, and if government ever is justified in taking children from their parents, that's when it should be done.
April 22, 2012 | By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
Susan Kang Schroeder ticked off the facts of the case: A man bought a 5-year-old girl from Vietnam, used her as a sex slave for more than a decade and forced her to invite over friends whom he molested during sleepovers. "She was made to do every possible sex act," Schroeder said with a bluntness she honed as a prosecutor. But this wasn't a jury. It was the seven members of the Huntington Beach City Council. And if the aim of the Orange County district attorney's chief of staff was to grab their attention with the story of one of the county's most notorious pedophiles, it worked.
April 20, 2012 | By Steve Padilla
It's no coincidence that National Missing Children Day is observed May 25. The date marks the disappearance of Etan Patz, the young boy who vanished 33 years ago and is now the subject of an intense search by the FBI and local authorities in New York. FBI agents this week dug up the basement of a home in Manhattan's SoHo district in search of his remains. Etan, with his flowing hair and soulful eyes, captured the public's imagination, and his disappearance in 1979 changed the way the nation handles cases of missing children.
April 11, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
Child safety seats are difficult to properly install in cars, according to an insurance industry research group, because of the design of most passenger seats. Joint research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that just 21 of 98 top-selling 2010 and 2011 model year vehicles have seat designs that are easy to use with child restraints. The low percentage was notable, considering that the auto industry is using a system called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children - or Latch - that was intended to make it easier to install the safety seats.
September 24, 1994
The Kiwanis Club will sponsor a Child Safety Day event today to help parents reduce the chances of child abuse, abduction and injury. Area residents are invited to bring their children for free fingerprinting and child safety information packets, which include a 16-page guide to stranger danger, bicycle safety, home safety, fire prevention, disaster preparedness, first aid and choosing child caretakers. The free event runs from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Pavilions market, 3433 Via Lido.
October 9, 2002 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Long Beach Police Department, which is investigating a recent series of attempted child kidnappings, will present a child safety forum tonight at Barnett Elementary School. Spanish and Khmer interpreters will be provided for the meeting at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium at 565 E. Hill St. Det. Craig Newland and crime-prevention officers will offer safety tips and answer questions on the recent abduction attempts.
August 27, 2010 | By Andrew Zajac, Tribune Washington Bureau
Long before Austin "Jack" DeCoster became a central figure in one of the largest egg recalls in history, he had paid more than $10 million in fines and suit settlements, his eggs were banned in one state and quarantined in another, and he was almost single-handedly responsible for new restrictions on child labor in his native Maine. He also was embraced by local governments in two states eager to reap the economic benefits of a large egg farm — even a rule-breaking one. Earlier this month, DeCoster's Wright County Egg farms in Iowa recalled 380 million eggs.
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.
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