How well is Fresno County protecting children?
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new state audit was released Thursday with new information about how child protective services is reviewing child deaths. The most stunning information involves where sex offenders are living.
The review highlighted findings in three California counties, including Fresno. It found Fresno County is doing a good job reviewing child death cases. But, the report showed another concerning problem. It found several dozen sex offenders in Fresno County are living in homes where day care or foster care services are provided.
8 Months after Henry T. Perea asked the state to investigate child deaths involving children in Child Protective Services (C.P.S.) custody, a 95 page report revealed Fresno County is reviewing deaths, even when it is not required to.
Perea made his request after the devastating death of 10-year-old Seth Ireland. Seth was beaten to death in 2008 by his mother's boyfriend. Earlier this year, Lebaron Vaughn pleaded guilty to second degree murder. He was sentenced to 15-years to life in prison.
Thursday Seth's father, Joe Hudson, stood by Perea as he revealed the results.
"If a child dies within the custody of C.P.S., there is no law that requires that county to review that death and why and how that occurred," said State Assemblyman Henry T. Perea.
The audit found other counties aren't as proactive. From 2008 to 2011, Alameda County did not review any child deaths, Sacramento County reviewed 9 out of 15 and Fresno reviewed 4 out of 5.
Hudson would like to see more effort put toward stopping abuse before it becomes fatal. "I want to see legislation passed in Sacramento on how to prevent these deaths from happening which was the case with my son."
Esther Franco, Director of the Fresno Council On Child Abuse Prevention, is pleased with the findings. She is part of a child death review panel and believes its important to investigate any child deaths. "You need to assess why in your county, children are dying and how you can prevent them."
The audit also found 48 addresses of sex offenders in Fresno County matched licensed foster homes, day care centers or group homes. Right now, it's not illegal for a sex offender to live at homes that provide these types of services.
Perea plans to take the information from the study to craft legislation to changes laws. He wants every county to be required to review child deaths, and also for it to be against the law for a sex offender to reside in a home that is also a state licensed facility.
cps, henry t. perea, fresno county, state, sontaya rose
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