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Protesters demand reforms to Child Protective Services, county DCFS

June 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The death of an 8-year-old boy has prompted an investigation into the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services. Friday, protesters met outside the headquarters, hoping the tragedy will spark changes within the department.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Department of Children and Family Services Friday to demand reforms Friday.

The protest comes a month after 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was beaten to death, allegedly by his mother and her boyfriend.

"Here is a boy that in his short eight years of life had no less than six reports to CPS, and the last case was never even investigated," said state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks).

Donnelly is calling for a full audit into the seizure practices of DCFS, and the state's Child Protective Services. Many at the gathering had their own stories of reported abuse and alleged missed red flags with their own children.

"The reason why his death is not in vain is because it shed light on a failure on the Department of Children and Family Services. They are failing to protect children," said Van Nuys resident Jillian Stefano.

According to a confidential report by DCSF itself, leaked to the Los Angeles Times, 13 children died at the hands of adults who were supposed to take care of them, despite reports of child abuse made to the agency.

The new DFCS director, Philip Browning, took over last year and called for more accountability a and restructuring of the organization.

Four social workers who handled Fernandez's case are now on desk duty as the investigation continues.

"We're not ready to explain the details of our investigation. Our director has stated that errors have been found and there are a number of concerns that have been revealed through our review of this case," said Armand Montiel, Department of Children Family Services."

The department's internal report is expected to be finished in the next two weeks.


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