On Wednesday, June 25, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors announced most of the transition team that will guide the creation of the county’s new Office of Child Protection and implement recommendations from a report issued the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection in April.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection was formed one year ago in the wake of the death Gabriel Fernandez, an 8-year-old Palmdale boy murdered by his mother and her boyfriend, and stinging revelations from an internal memo leaked to The Los Angeles Times. In April, the commission culminated months of research and interviews with a final report that offered dozens of recommendations to improve child protection and safety in the county.
Comprised of nine members, the transition team includes one representative for each of the five county supervisors and one appointee each from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court, the Chief Executive Office and the Commission for Children and Families.
According to documents released by the Board of Supervisors, the transition team for the Office of Child Protection will include the following appointees:
- Dr. Andrea L. Rich (appointed by Supervisor Gloria Molina)
- Dr. Mitchell Katz (appointed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas)
- Leslie Gilbert-Lurie (appointed by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky)
- Janet Teague (appointed by Supervisor Don Knabe)
- Steve Cooley (appointed by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich)
- Dr. David Sanders (appointed by the Blue Ribbon Commission)
- Judge Margaret Henry (appointed by the Juvenile Court)
- Antonia Jiménez (appointed by the Chief Executive Office)
- Patricia Curry (appointed by the Commission for Children and Families)
The transition team has been tasked with providing the Board of Supervisors with advice about the child safety items during the formation of the Office of Child Protection as well as guidance during the board’s search and selection of a czar to oversee the new office.
The transition team will also prioritize the implementation of the Blue Ribbon Commission report recommendations and provide cost analysis of those to the Board of Supervisors.
At a meeting on June 10, Supervisor Molina indicated that transition team will act as a crucial coordinating mechanism to guide child welfare reform across the county.
“[The transition team] provides the county with an opportunity to break down silos, foster collaboration among county departments, [and] work in unison in the best interest of the most vulnerable children,” Molina said. “The transition team will prioritize implementation of all of the recommendations.”
“The recommendations, we know, will need to be fine-tuned. We need to find out what can be implemented immediately, what’s in the short-term and what’s going to take longer. We know that some tweaking is going to have to take place along the way. But we do need to start now.”
The transition team will meet monthly, starting in July. Its first report to the Board of Supervisors is due on August 5.
Jeremy Loudenback is a Journalism for Social Change Fellow and a graduate student at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy.