Garrett Therolf, a longtime Los Angeles Times reporter who focused on the nation’s largest child welfare system, will be leaving his post on Wednesday, Therolf confirmed today in an email to The Chronicle of Social Change.
“Yes, tomorrow is the end of my decade at The Times,” Therolf said in the email. Therolf also said his future employer will soon publicly announce his new role.
Phillip Browning, director of the county’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), expressed his appreciation of Therolf’s reporting in an email to The Chronicle.
“Garrett has been tenacious and persistent in bringing important issues to the public’s attention,” Browning said in the email. “I appreciate his willingness to let me add my perspective to his stories on local child welfare.”
Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center, a nonprofit, public interest law firm that provides legal representation for children impacted by abuse and neglect, said she also appreciated Therolf’s long-term, in-depth coverage of the system.
“Overall, I think his interest in child welfare is important, and though at times I think it frustrated some, I think the attention is necessary,” Heimov said.
Therolf joined the Los Angeles Times in 2006 and covered the county’s government broadly before narrowing his focus to the county’s child welfare system. He reported extensively on the May 2013 death of Gabriel Fernandez, a boy from the Antelope Valley who was abused and eventually killed by his mother and her boyfriend.
“We are very proud of the reporting that Garrett Therolf has done at The Los Angeles Times. Accountability journalism remains a priority for The Times and we will continue covering the child welfare system and social services,” said Hillary Manning, director of communications for the publication, in an email.
Ongoing coverage about the Fernandez incident helped to spur the creation of the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, which released recommendations in June 2014 to guide the county’s Board of Supervisors in reforming the child welfare system.