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County to improve oversight in child endangerment cases

Posted: August 5, 2009 12:43 p.m.
Updated: August 5, 2009 5:42 p.m.
 
LOS ANGELES COUNTY - The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion calling for the expansion of the criterion used by the county-run Medical Hubs to assess the medical and mental health needs of children to include a select number of children who remain in the homes of their birth parents while a child abuse investigation is underway.

"The welfare and overall well-being of children is, first and foremost, the responsibility of their birth parents," Antonovich said. "When birth parents endanger their children, child welfare must become the shared responsibility of all county departments, non-county agencies and community-based partners serving families."

Through motions on June 24, 2008, May 26 and June 30, the Board unanimously directed the Chief Executive Officer to expand, enhance and ensure full utilization of the county's Family and Child Index (FCI).

FCI is a centralized database that ties together basic data about families and children who, through relevant contact with participating public agencies, have been identified as at-risk for abuse and neglect.

However, consistent specialized medical and mental health assessments of certain at-risk children and families must also occur to adequately identify and prevent child endangerment and/or death.

Additionally, the motion directed the Chief Executive Officer to report back in 30 days on the expansion of Medical Hub capacity countywide to accommodate the assessment of the specific non-detained children meets the criteria for additional state funding.

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