Sacramento – Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announces an audit of the County of Los Angeles’ handling of child abuse and welfare issues was unanimously approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee today.
Senators Scott Wilk, Ricardo Lara (D- Bell Gardens) and Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) requested the audit after 10-year old Anthony Avalos was essentially abused to death despite numerous reports having been made to the LA County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) of suspected abuse. In 2014, as in the case of Anthony Avalos, Gabriel Fernandez also died as a result of abuse despite multiple reports having been filed with DCFS.
“This was not an isolated incident. If we don’t find out how situations like this can occur we won’t be able to find ways to prevent them in the future. Despite numerous calls to DCFS by teachers, relatives and others expressing concern Anthony remained in his home,” said Wilk. “This has got to stop. It is systematic incompetency and represents an epic failure by government.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that 13 calls were placed to DCFS by teachers, school administrators, counselors and relatives alleging abuse of not only Anthony but also his six siblings at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend. At the time of his death Anthony’s body was covered with cigarette burns and he had sustained severe head injuries amongst other visible signs of trauma.
“My heart breaks for Anthony and other children being abused,” said Wilk. “We can’t make this right for him, but we can take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
The audit should be completed sometime next spring.