After 2 Suspected Homophobic Killings of Boys, Audit Finds Major Flaws in L.A. County Child Protection

Family and friends attend a memorial service for Gabriel Fernandez, 8, a Palmdale boy who was allegedly beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend in 2013. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Family and friends attend a memorial service for Gabriel Fernandez, 8, a Palmdale boy who was allegedly beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend in 2013. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A long-awaited state audit of Los Angeles County’s troubled Department of Children and Family Services has uncovered shortcomings that often place vulnerable children in harm’s way.

The audit found that the department’s social workers didn’t initiate or complete investigations of neglect accurately or quickly enough, used “inaccurate” assessments to determine child risk and didn’t always conduct criminal background checks of those living in homes where children were placed.

“The department has allowed children to remain in unsafe and abusive situations for months longer than necessary because it did not start or complete investigations within required time frames,” the state auditor’s office concluded.

Although wide-ranging in scope, the audit was prompted by the high-profile slayings of two boys — Anthony Avalos and Gabriel Fernandez — who were both subjects of abuse investigations in L.A. County and, according to prosecutors, may have come out as gay.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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