LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) has taken the first steps to fire four employees in connection with the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy, a county official said Tuesday.
County CEO Bill Fujioka announced the move on Twitter “based on an internal investigation” into the death of Gabriel Fernandez on May 24.
The recommendation was made by DCFS director Philip Browning to discharge the four employees, Fujioka said. The two social workers and two supervisors are on paid leave pending a hearing in August.
KNX 1070′s Claudia Peschiutta reports three other employees will be reprimanded as a result of the investigation.
In a memo dated July 30 (PDF) addressed to DCFS staff, Browning called the decisions “difficult” and acknowledged that the “action may cause stress and concern” among staffers.
“We finally got to a conclusion which really indicated that staff really performed far below our expectations in this case,” Browning told KCAL9′s Jeff Nguyen.
The four employees facing termination are union members who will have a chance to challenge the discharge notices in two weeks, in an internal hearing.
“This is the first step in a process in a long-term investigation,” L.A. County spokesman David Summers said.
Tammi Stephano of the National Safe Child Coalition has organized a number of protests against DCFS.
“We’re not going to go away,” Stephano said. “If somebody doesn’t make sure and enforce that the right thing is done, they’re going to create a problem bigger than they possible expect right now.”
Authorities were tipped off to the abuse on May 22 after the Los Angeles County Fire Department was called out to the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10 on a report of a boy who was not breathing.
REad More : losangeles.cbslocal.com.