Can LA County better protect its most vulnerable? A Blue Ribbon Panel makes recommendations

Apr 22, 2014

Gabriel Fernandez

Gabriel Fernandez, 8, of Palmdale, was tortured and murdered, allegedly by his mother and her boyfriend. Four county child services workers involved with his case have been notified they will be fired.; Credit: NBC4

Los Angeles County no doubt aims to protect children within its bounds. But after the death of eight year old Gabriel Fernandez in Palmdale at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend last year, a media spotlight shone on L.A.’s Department of Children and Family Services and its failure to protect children from abuse and neglect.

A new report from a blue-ribbon panel commissioned to analyze L.A. County’s protection of abused children says the system is in a state of emergency. The findings and recommendations, including lower social worker caseloads and better abuse risk analysis and prevention, will be assessed in a Board of Supervisors meeting today.

Is it lack of resources or bureaucratic barriers that are impeding progress in protecting L.A. County children? Can the panel’s recommendations be implemented effectively in a system responsible for the welfare of children in the most populous county in the United States?


Marilyn Flynn, Commissioner on LA County’s appointed Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection; Dean of the USC School of Social Work in 1997, and was reappointed in 2011; She joins us from the LA County Board of Supervisors meeting

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