LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County officials have failed to follow state law that requires them to publicly disclose child fatalities resulting from abuse or neglect, it was reported today.
The violations, described in an independent audit released Monday, involve “potentially dozens” of child fatalities, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told the Los Angeles Times.
“The board has been misled, but more importantly the public has been misled and that is really inexcusable,” Yaroslavsky said. “There is only one possible motivation here, other than the right hand not doing what the left hand is doing, and that is an intent to withhold information from the public.”
The finding by the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review comes amid a growing debate about whether child welfare officials are underreporting deaths of children whose families previously had come to the department’s attention.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said that it was unclear who is responsible for the lack of compliance with the disclosure law. He said that he plans to introduce a motion at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting to clarify lines of responsibility.