Los Angeles Blue Ribbon Commission to Issue “Roadmap to Improve Child Safety”

The Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on Child Protection is preparing to issue its final report after holding a ninth meeting since it was formed in response to an audit of the circumstances surrounding 14 child fatalities in 2010 and 2011.

Those fatality figures were made public in the Children’s Special Investigations Unit’s Recurring Systemic Issues Report on the Los Angeles Department of Children and Families (DCFS), which was leaked to the LA Times in February of 2013.

Topics addressed during last week’s meeting included the lack of training for first responders and health care workers, the lack of cross-reporting and interagency communication, and the inadequate use of and support for community-based services.

Commission Chairman David Sanders, former director of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and current Vice President at Casey Family Programs, indicated that the commission plans to issue a comprehensive report on its findings, including a “roadmap to improve safety for children” by the end of the calendar year. As of November 26, the commission has been granted an extension through April 2014 to complete its work and compile its final report.

Sanders stated the Commission’s particular interested in research from University of Southern California researcher Emily Putnam-Hornstein, which showed that a major risk indicator is whether the child’s family was reported to DCFS during the child’s first year of life, regardless of whether the report was substantiated. Sanders also mentioned the BRC’s interest in the role of law enforcement, saying that law enforcement’s responsibility with regard to child protection is equal to that of DCFS. The Commission plans to provide recommendations on how the two departments can better work together.

Commissioner Daniel Scott, a sergeant with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, reported that the department has committed to training all officers to better identify the signs of child abuse by January of 2014. Scott said the Sheriff intends to formally recommend to the other 45 law enforcement agencies serving the county to do the same.

Blue Ribbon Commission meetings officially commenced Aug. 1, 2013, and have included presentations and testimony by representatives from a range of county agencies, court officials, and members of the nonprofit provider and advocacy community.

Topics addressed in the November 15 meeting included the lack of training for first responders and health care workers, the lack of cross-reporting and interagency communication, and the inadequate use of and support for community-based services.

Presenters included a Los Angeles County Coroner Investigator, a panel of LA County DCFS social workers including representatives from the Family Maintenance and Reunification Unit and the Voluntary Family Maintenance Unit; a panel of relative caregivers; the Association of Community Human Service Agencies, Foster Family Agencies and Group Homes; Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services; and the Executive Director of Stuart House, a program of the UCLA Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica Hospital.

Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission are:

  • Chair David Sanders
  • Vice Chairs Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Hon. Dickran M. Tevrizian (ret.)
  • County commissioners Gabriella Holt, Marilyn L. Flynn, Richard Martinez, Andrea L. Rich, Daniel Scott, Janet Teague
  • Former county commissioner Hon. Terry B. Friedman (ret.)

The next meeting is scheduled for December 6, 2013.

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Christie Renick
About Christie Renick 126 Articles
Tucson-based vice president of Fostering Media Connections. Follow @christiejrenick.


  1. It’s very interesting to read negative comments about social workers…by people who are not social workers…as workers we are overwhelmed with a caseload in upwards of 100 individuals when u include the children and their parents…for instance 40 children multiplied by 2 parents each equals 80 parents…40+80=120 people who need the attention of one worker….now add foster parents, attorneys, therapists, relatives, teachers, parole officers, probation officers, doctors and psychiatrist who are tied to the case and u quickly get to over 250 individuals who the worker needs to communicate with in order to complete reports that are sent to a judge for review.

    That doesn’t include visits, assessments, referrals, meetings, transporting minors, seven-day-notices, hospitalizations, runaways, case plans…etc…etc….etc..

    Now if 120 people have 4 problems each…that equals 480 problems that a worker is expected to solve.

    Now try solving years of substance abuse, domestic violence, developmental delays, mental illness on a daily basis as each case moves through the system for years. There are lot of families suffering out there.

    For all the critics if you haven’t heard DCFS needs workers… bring your bachelor and/or masters degrees in psychology, child development, socially etc…and come help children, mothers and fathers in need.

    Once your caseload starts to build, cases start to overlap and you start having sleepless nights you’ll understand life on the line as a social worker and you’ll eat every critical word!

    • That doesn’t mean the worker should simply dimiss things like court ordered visits, a extremely suspicious foster home.the REUNIFICATION process which could potentially reduce the case load etc. There’s just too mUch to even mention.fact of the matter is if your job was being done correctly you wouldn’t have such a heavy case load

  2. Oh goody, another report…. How’s Lurie’s training coming along?…..

    Blue ribbon was not started because of something in 2010 and 11…. what kind of propaganda site is this? Duh, everyone should know it was started after the exposure of LA DCFS placing children in harms’ way whenever possible, in order to assure funding.

    Or maybe it was because their ongoing and continued negligence towards Gabriel Fernandez. The county is cashing in kids for federal tax re-reimbursements. They are alienating children from their families. They have armies of unethical privatized adoption and foster agencies, who feed off the separation of parents and children, often violating constitutional rights of both children (forced drugging) and parents.

    They also have a systemic indoctrination system that is culturally and psychologically abusive to each other and to families it targets. Fraud is rampant, at the expense of the 70% of the families who do not require removal, yet it is the county, and these same actors in this article that commits and endorses the corruption.

    Blah blah blah. So, the workers are not held accountable for anything they do, huh? Then why are you paying them so much? You could pay people far less to abuse families and children, especially if they have no consequences for any of the work they do. Yeah, you guys are always wasting money.

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