Since I began the quest of running for LA County Supervisor, I have read many pages and reports – from the Santa Monica Mountains Land Use Plan to the Report of the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection.
As I parse through these pages of reports, my jaw rarely drops to the ground and my blood pressure rarely rises to the roof, but it did yesterday.
After reading the April 18, 2014 “Road to Safety for Our Children – Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection” there can be only one conclusion: children are not a priority of at least 3 members of the current Board of Supervisors. How can I say this?
After the Child Protection Commission (hereinafter “Commission”) held 15 public hearings and interviewed more than 300 stakeholders they found, “A recurring theme in our hearings was the children, youth, parents, relatives, foster parents, and community groups, who should be at the center of planning, feel devalued and unheard.” p. I. “The children for whom this report was written deserve to grow up free from abuse and neglect and to realize their full potential. It is our responsibility to make this possible, now.” p. vi.
“Nearly four months have elapsed since the Commission issued its interim recommendation on which everyone seemed to agree: performing medical screening exams on detained children under the age of one. The Commission highlighted this urgency of implementing this recommendation given the vulnerability of this population. The Deputy Director of Strategic Planning for the Department of Health Services indicated that DHS could implement it within existing resources. And still, four months later, this recommendation has not been acted upon.” at p. 12. How could the Board fail to act at least on this one simple recommendation?
There is the need, there is the money, but it appears there is no will to implement this uncontested need to perform medical screenings. Instead, the Board of Supervisors asked that Report be further studied and brought back in May.
Ask yourself, if another recommendation had been made involving environmental special interests or maybe some big oil company interest, do you think the Board would have failed to act?
It’s time to elect public servants who will make these children a priority. They can’t vote or contribute any money to a candidate’s campaign, but in my humble opinion, they matter.
When children’s lives are at stake, I believe it is time for action, not further study. It is time for respect, not dismissiveness.
The Commission unanimously concluded that a “State of Emergency” exists in the current child protection system.
Reform will only take as long or as little time as 3 votes on the Board of Supervisors decide it will take.
If elected to serve the 3rd District, I will implement the recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon task force, and not ask for yet another study.
LA County voters will be given the opportunity to vote for 2 new Supervisors in the June primary and in November this year.
I hope and pray that the newly elected Supervisors will make protecting children a priority.