Thursday, September 15, 2011
Child advocates have sued the California Department of Social Services to force it to reveal more details about child deaths. Advocates say the agency’s rules block potential reforms that could save lives.
Child advocates have sued the California Department of Social Services to force it to reveal more details about child deaths.
The way the rules are applied now details are made public only if a child dies from abuse or neglect by a parent or guardian. But Bob Fellmeth of the Child Advocacy Institute in San Diego said the full story of child deaths in the state is not being told.
"Obviously, if the boyfriend does it or the gang does it or the school official does it or the child care provider does it, we want to know that," Fellmeth said. "We want to know wherever it’s coming from so we can prevent egregious abuse of children that result in death or near death.”
Fellmeth’s lawsuit against the state department of social services is aimed at getting it to remove the secrecy surrounding those deaths. The department declined to comment on the lawsuit. Fellmeth believes the secrecy is due to embarassment by a system that failed to protect children who ultimately died.
“Because most of the cases of deaths from child abuse and neglect are cases where there have been prior reports to child protective services and I think CPS throughout the state are very well organized and are very concerned about being embarrassed," he said.
More than 100 children die each year in the state due to abuse.