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Times investigation: As L.A. County spun its wheels, children died

June 13, 2009 | 11:24 am

Child  
For at least 18 years, Los Angeles County has repeatedly received urgent and sometimes gruesome reminders that its agencies don't share vital information about potentially abused or neglected children, according to a Times investigation.

There have been numerous calls for reform -- but little action. In the passing years, an unknown number of children have been harmed or killed.

At least a dozen reports have landed on county leaders' desks since the early 1990s saying agencies that work with troubled families must improve their ability to talk to each other. County supervisors have freely admitted that the system is broken, and even have voted several times to establish computer systems to open communication channels.

Solutions have been doomed by bureaucratic infighting, turf wars, privacy concerns and limited political attention spans. When horrific deaths or abuse drop out of the news, the board and department heads often focus elsewhere, leading to long stretches of inaction -- until another case gives them a terrible jolt.

Read Garrett Therolf's full investigation here.

Earlier installment: Files detail deaths of 14 children.

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