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L.A. County reviews possible lapses in death of 2-year-old boy

Father says he warned of abuse

L.A. County officials are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the case of 2-year-old Deandre Green, who was killed weeks after authorities received reports that he might be the victim of abuse.

Family members said they had warned police and Los Angeles County child-welfare officials at least twice about possible abuse in the last few months of the child's life. Deandre's father told The Times in an interview Tuesday that he had taken his son to the Hawthorne Police Department in October to show officials bruises on the child's chest and stomach. Deandre's cousin said she had called the county Department of Children and Family Services in February to report her concerns.

The boyfriend of the boy's mother has been arrested in connection with Deandre's death.

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose district includes Hawthorne, said he was “very concerned about what happened here.”

An independent county investigator was assigned to review the circumstances leading to the boy's death as a matter of protocol, he added.

Ridley-Thomas said he hoped the probe would explain why the case was bounced from the DCFS to the Hawthorne police and, ultimately, to the Long Beach Police Department, which is investigating it as a homicide because he died in that city.

“It’s not usually the case that you have two different law enforcement agencies involved in a case like this,” Ridley-Thomas said. “The question is whether there was enough communication between the two departments and the county. ... That’s one of the things that I’m very concerned about.”

The office of Supervisor Don Knabe, whose district includes Long Beach, released a written statement saying “the death of any child is a horrible tragedy,” but he declined to comment on the case because it is under active investigation.

“Supervisor Knabe is confident that DCFS takes abuse allegations seriously and investigates rapidly,” the statement said.

Deandre's death comes as the county continues to face scrutiny in its handling of child abuse cases. Earlier this month, 2-year-old Viola Vanclief was killed while in the care of a foster family agency that contracts with the court despite a long history of child abuse incidents. About 35 children who passed through the county system since January 2007 have died from abuse or neglect.

Long Beach Police Officer Jackie Bezart confirmed that detectives are examining at least two reports of abuse submitted to the county before Deandre died, but said she could not provide more details.

-- Tony Barboza in Long Beach

Photo: A family photo of Deandre Green.

 
Comments () | Archives (19)

First things first-This is not a motiveless crime!

Isn't anyone concerned with why the boyfriend killed the baby? And how he could have been thwarted through education?
There ought to be a penalty for unwed mothers.

Sounds like relegation to foster care is a death sentence for children. 35 since 2007? DCFS is pathetic.

What a shame that this baby's little life was cut so short by abuse. Separately, DCFS needs a major overhaul though--the people that don't give a crap about their jobs OR the kids have the most power, and the workers fresh out of school learn very quickly that their hands are tied so tightly, that they can scarcely do anything more than take orders from the apathetic fools at the top. It's a joke, another way the gov't controls people-having the power to take away their children-give them to strangers who see them as nothing more than a hassle for a steady paycheck. My husband grew up a foster kid in LA, he's told me the horrors of not being fed for days, being abused etc. I find it so disheartening that some are cold enough to step up only to exploit those that need our protection the most, our society's troubled or abandoned children.

My condolences to the family. Deandre's life was short, but his memory will live forever in the hearts of those whom loved him. RIP Deandre Green. You're in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with him nothing can go wrong. You're safe and protected and no one can do harm to you anymore.

Now, for the beast that took his life, you need repentance quick, otherwise, Deandre will be looking down from heaven seeing you burn in hell.

The system has been broken for SO long!!!! Why does Trish Ploehn still have her job????????

I work for DCFS and you guys have no idea what's really going on so stop blaming DCFS if you don't have the full story people! Many of us do happen to care about our clients. We are not allowed to speak to the media and give our side so you are all fed this one sided bull about our agency in these news articles. Can't tell you how many cases I've had where I've warned the court that there is abuse but the Court dismissed the case because we "don't have enough proof". Or we are told that a referral for suspected abuse has to be closed because "there isn't enough evidence". On the other hand, when we detain from parents we are "those mean people who take kids from their parents for no good reason". We can't win for losing no matter what we do. Yes there are rotten apples in this agency like anywhere else but there are many of us who do care deeply. I'm so sick of these disparaging stories. May this beautiful child's soul rest in peace and all those responsible be held accountable.

IM A 41 YEAR OLD WOMEN AND I GREW UP IN A FOSTER HOME SINCE THE AGE OF 5, THEN MOVED TO ANOTHER HOME WHICH LATER ADOPTED ME AND MY SISTER. TO MAKE THIS STORY SHORT, BOTH HOMES PHYSICALLY,MENTALLY, AND SEXUALLY ABUSED ME AND MY SISTER. THE ONE NEIGHBOR THAT MY AND MY SISTER CONFIDED IN MADE NUMEROUS REPORTS TO CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, NOTHING WAS DONE.MY SIS NOW 42 STILL SUFFERS FROM THE HORRIBLE ABUSE FROM THESE HOMES.DPSS OF LOS ANGELES FAILED US.

Donovan Jacobs -
"There ought to be a penalty for unwed mothers." Excuse me?
What does unwed mothers have to do with a man killing a child? You can not lump a group of women into the actions of a scum bag man who kills a child. That would be like me saying keep your children away from all men, which is ridiculous. This mother may have been part of the problem, only time will tell, but her marital status isn't the issue or the question here. There are many women who are married who have also had their children killed by their husbands.

DCFS is overwhelmed with cases that I feel sorry for all the social workers. Everyone wants to punish the social worker and the system when the rise of unfit parents has reached pandemic proportions. I've known a few social workers who have moved on to other fields because the number of children assigned to each social worker is RIDICULOUSLY high. In addition, many people who are foster parents are only in it for the money and could care less about these children, many of them who have serious behavioral problems.

DCFS and the Welfare system need a complete overhaul. Too many people on Welfare that shouldn't be. Too many people on Welfare continuing to reproduce and get handouts. People are getting pissed over healthcare and not Welfare!

The reason this little guy's life was cut short was because of the ACLU. The police has their hands tied --- if they go after something like this; everyone cries racism. Stop blaming the police for everything! All the lawsuits and punishment against them has mde it impossible for them to follow up on any valid or invalid leads. START SUPPORTING OUR POLICE DEPT. FOR A CHANGE.

I am deeply touched and full of anguish as to how this could have happened to this child (Deandre Green). I feel there isn't enough being done to prevent these things from happening. I feel if family members come forward of a child being abuse that should be enough for the child to be removed and the situation investigated. I would love to devote my time in situation like this, children are to be loved and cherished and these days children does not have to be brought here in this world if they are not wanted. There are many things to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

You need to look into the deliberate short-staffing of the DCFS by the Board of Supervisors.

You need to look into the deliberate short-staffing of the DCFS by the Board of Supervisors.

LMAO @ LIZ. I want what you're smoking.

AJ, I agree with all you said in your post. It infuriates me that the DCFS is getting away with this neglect and abuse. I have several friends/relatives who's children were taken away from good stable homes (Grandparents) and given to to drug-addicted fathers, that had pri son records and molested and abused these children that were under 5 yrs of age. Complaint after complaint and nothing was ever done. You cannot believe the weak excuses they gave for not doing anything. In one case the caseworker became involved with one of the fathers herself, so would not report any ill doing. We the people are the ones paying the taxes to support the DCFS and it is time we raise up and demand that they clean up this corrupted mess and get these children into a safe haven. We the people are the Government and we are the ones to hold the office of who manages what goes on. If you don't do your job well, your GONE....

There is insufficient information in this article to form a well reasoned opinion. It says the boy was "killed", not murdered. This may be a situation of negligence. We do not know. The fact that reports existed beforehand is not surprising. Family members who bicker like to use DCFS and the Police to harrass other family members into submission. Sometimes, when people want custody or want to punish another family member, they will make false reports to the Police and DCFS as a form of harrassment. Why would a government agency want to harm a child? Children should have parents who love them. Loving parents make sure incidents like this never happen.

I see posts by government sympathizers making statements that serve only to excuse themselves. Too much authority and too many excuses. Every time I see or hear an Amber alert, I wonder if it's just another helpless parent trying to save the life of their child. Both the police department and DCFS are filled with corruption because the employees protect each other. Just like the catholic church. How can you fight such a huge and powerful system? You risk your life and everything you own, that's how. Anybody who knew about this abuse let that boy down by obeying the law. Little bitty two year old and nobody with the guts to defend him.

Yes, this little boy fell through the cracks in the syster, but let's not forget one thing...the system did NOT kill him, his mother's boyfriend a known felon killed him.

If you want change, it has to start from the person in the mirror.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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