Severely Malnourished Boy’s Death Prompts Supervisors to Reevaluate L.A. County Program

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Yonatan Daniel Aguilar, 11, is seen in a family photo album shown at his public memorial on Sept. 14, 2016 in Echo Park. (Credit: KTLA)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, responding to the death of a severely malnourished boy who was found dead in a closet last month, is set to discuss a motion Tuesday calling for a reevaluation of a county program intended to measure children’s risk of abuse.

Case records released to the Los Angeles Times by the county’s Department of Children and Family Services show that 11-year-old Yonatan Daniel Aguilar’s risk of abuse had been marked as “high” four times from 2009 to 2012 by the computerized program, called Structured Decision Making, or SDM.

“Evidence suggests that there may be potential shortcomings inherent in the SDM tool which may provide unclear guidance and the ability to override results,” the supervisors’ motion states. Yonatan’s death, they wrote, “is seemingly a tragic case of severe abuse over a prolonged period of time allegedly at the hands of the child’s mother.”

Yonatan’s emaciated body weighed just 34 pounds when he was found beneath a blanket in a closet in his family’s Echo Park home. His mother, Veronica Aguilar, has been charged with murder and child abuse resulting in his death.

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