Practice of Deliberate Indifference: How L.A. County DCFS Failed a Ten-Year-Old

Anthony Avalos had a long life ahead of him. Notice how we said “had.” Los Angeles County failed this young man as we – Robert and Kathleen Raskin – will show you. Imagine being a child in an abused home in 2014. Imagine your aunt’s family stepping up to fill in the role that your mother couldn’t: potty training, consulting with your teachers in preschool, hearing about how someday you’re going to be a fireman. Imagine that you confided in them that your mother and her boyfriend abusing and neglecting you and your siblings over several years. Imagine the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services not hearing your aunt and uncle’s reports, turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering you endured while you waited for a solution.

Imagine being your aunt, hearing of your torture and death in 2018.

9,000 employees at L.A. County’s DCFS handle 30,000 family and child welfare cases. They claim not to take their commitment lightly, yet there was an interaction recorded on the department’s hotline where a DCFS social worker laughed while describing abuse against Anthony. What has become the standard – as previously reported here – a contracting service is involved. The lawsuit named Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, a Pasadena-based contractor for the DCFS that offers mental health and welfare services.

Not only that, but in 2013, the same company worked with the family of Gabriel Fernandez. He was an 8-year-old Palmdale boy tortured and killed by his mother Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre. The red flags were flying for this, because it became his case a symbol of bureaucratic failure and propelled what were meant to be far-reaching reforms within the county’s child welfare system.

Here’s a quick video about the abuse in L.A. County:

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