Sheriff Lee Baca participated in a press conference Friday with the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) to announce two annual reports; Child Death Review Team Report and the ICAN State of Child Abuse in Los Angeles County Report.
These extensive reports represent the most comprehensive County level child abuse data that have been collected by hands-on professionals dealing with children and families. ICAN is the County’s official agent to unify City, County, State and Federal agencies, with the community to prevent child abuse and neglect of children in Los Angeles County acting as a safety net.
Sheriff Baca, chairperson of ICAN, spoke at the press conference along with ICAN Executive Director Deanne Tilton Durfee, Department of Children and Family Services Director Philip Browning, County Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, Department of Mental Health Director Marvin Southard and Department of Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding.
A policy committee meeting of over 30 interagency officials followed the press conference where they discussed issues on child and youth homicides, suicides, accidents, unsafe sleeping and human trafficking of youth. They also reviewed the impact of internet cybercrimes on children and the projected findings for 2012. Officials considered a recommendation to support legislation amending AB 717, which took effect on January 1, 2012, and excluded law enforcement from reporting child abuse to the California Child Abuse Central Index. “Law enforcement sees the short and long-term results of child abuse on the streets, in our schools and on the internet. I am proud to be a part of the many agencies working together to protect our children because child abuse of any kind will not be tolerated,” said Sheriff Baca.
ICAN’s goal and purpose is to provide a system wide perspective on child abuse, to share information from all the different agencies that touch the lives of children in Los Angeles County, and to make recommendations for improvement of that system. “The most important source of protection comes from friends, family, neighbors and the community. The reality is that child abuse and neglect can be prevented before it is known to the system, before it becomes a tragic reality,” said Deanne Tilton Durfee.
Most notable facts:
* Twenty four children were victims of homicide by a parent, relative, caregiver, or other family member. There were 19 suicides, 88 accidental child deaths and 108 undetermined child deaths.
* Over two thirds of the children were between the ages of 0 to three years (n+165). 53% were infants under the age of one year (n+126). The majority of children who died (61%) were one year of age or younger.
* As in past years, male children tend to over-represent female children in nearly all types of deaths.
* Nineteen children and adolescents committed suicide in 2011. The youngest victim, age 12 died from hanging.
* The two leading causes of accidental death for children ages 0 to 17 years were auto pedestrian and automobile accidents. Seventy-six percent of auto pedestrian deaths were children ages 0 to 14 years.
* Bed sharing and unsafe sleeping environments accounted for 69 infant deaths.
* The Probation Department received child abuse offense referrals of 519 males and 17 females, approximately 30 times as many males as females.
* The courts are now witnessing a rise in drug related filings involving methamphetamine. Also, there was an increase of “reactivated” petitions (new petitions filed on previously dismissed or terminated cases).
For more information please visit the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect website http://www.ican4kids.org/ or contact Executive Director Deanne Tilton Durfee at (626) 485-6196 or (626) 455-4585.