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June 25, 2013 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to create a citizens' blue ribbon commission to propose reforms in the county's troubled child welfare agency. The commission, with two members to be appointed by each of the five supervisors, will review past attempts at reforms and make recommendations by the end of 2013. The body will also have authority to examine other agencies that deal with child welfare, including law enforcement and health service providers. The supervisors' move was prompted by the death in May of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.
June 25, 2013 | By Timothy M. Phelps, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court, deeply divided in a dispute involving the rights of parents and a law to protect Native American families, ruled Tuesday against the biological father of a 3-year-old girl who said their Native American heritage entitled him to custody. At the center of the case was Veronica, whom the justices called "Baby Girl" in their decision. Veronica was adopted at birth by a South Carolina couple with the consent of her mother, who is not named in court records.
June 11, 2013 | By Chris Megerian and Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - The budget deal that lawmakers will vote on this week is an effort to mesh financial restraint with a desire to provide more social services and healthcare for the needy - giving the state's economy extra time to recover before some of the spending kicks in. The $96.3-billion deal, formally announced Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown and top legislators, sets the stage for hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending on welfare grants, tuition...
June 10, 2013 | By Robert Greene
The killing last month of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez of Palmdale led Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles to demand a state audit of L.A. County's   Department of Children and Family Services. On its face, the demand appears to make some sense. An outside investigator such as State Auditor Elaine M. Howle might be able to provide some valuable insight into why an agency like DCFS didn't remove Gabriel from a situation that, in retrospect, looks only too clearly to have been cruel and abusive.
June 9, 2013 | By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
A UC Berkeley senior who majors in social welfare and has been active in student government and Mideast issues is expected to become the next University of California student regent, joining the board that sets policies for the 10-campus system. A special regents committee has nominated Sadia Saifuddin, 21, of Stockton to be the student regent in 2014-15. Confirmation by the full Board of Regents is expected next month. For the next year, Saifuddin would be a regent-designate, able to participate in all discussions but without voting rights until her one-year term as a fully empowered student representative begins in July 2014, officials said.
June 8, 2013 | SANDY BANKS
I'm tired of hearing "culture change" held out as a fix for idiocy. That's the standard excuse when institutions fail: A dysfunctional culture is to blame when students don't learn or jail inmates are beaten. And it's the explanation being offered up in the latest example of tragic incompetence by the Los Angeles County foster care system: the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Hernandez, who police say was tortured and killed by his mother and her boyfriend. The child was on social workers' radar for months.
June 6, 2013
Re "Healthcare bill targets big firms," June 1 I take great exception to the notion that a large retailer whose employees are on Medicaid "puts a burden on taxpayers. " Offering a job to an adult should not impose a societal burden on the employer to care for the adult. By proposing to penalize employers for employing people without providing health insurance, legislators are likely to incentivize employers not to hire as many people. What would this accomplish? If a burden is placed on the taxpayers, it is placed by the Legislature.
June 4, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
There is nothing more outrageous than the death of a child at the hands of an abusive parent who was under the watch of child welfare workers who, in the end, didn't step in and stop the abuse. Such appears to be the case with the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. All the elements are there for a high-pitched emotional public response: Politicians. Government bureaucrats. Bad parents. And an innocent child, now dead. But if the public and the county supervisors leave their setting on outrage, experience shows that the result is too often a cycle of invective, firings, discipline and policy changes that may satisfy a hunger for action, but only of the wheel-spinning sort.
May 28, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has rolled out his revised budget proposal, both houses of the Legislature are outlining their own ideas for how the state's money should be spent in the next year. The Senate wants more funding for mental health programs, dental care for poor adults and career training for high school students. The Assembly wants to increase welfare grants, expand child-care programs and reduce university costs. Neither wish list matches Brown's $96.4-billion budget proposal, which is almost $2 billion smaller and relies on a more pessimistic view of California's economy.
May 17, 2013
Re "501(c)(4)s are the real IRS scandal," Column, May 15 Michael Hiltzik is right. The IRS should put every tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organization under a microscope. Vague tax rules, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and the absurd cost of political campaigns create a perfect storm of opportunity for would-be kingmakers. Being partisan myself, when I saw that key words being used to flag suspect organizations included "tea party" and "patriot," I thought, "Well, yes, and the problem is?"
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