Board Moves forward on Child Protection Recommendations

78741043Moving forward with key recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Child Protection, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved pairing public health nurses with social workers to investigate every allegation of abuse for children under the age of two.

This move, based on a motion co-sponsored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl, will help medical and child welfare professionals evaluate if a child is in danger of abuse or needs immediate medical attention. The Board also moved forward with the recommendation to make sure these children get referred to special medical clinics (called “hubs”) to get immediate health screenings if the public health nurse deems it medically necessary.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Hub will be the first site to begin this partnership between social workers and public health nurses as part of the first phase of recommendations. The MLK Medical Hub will serve residents in Compton and the Vermont area of the DCFS regional offices. These enhancements will also make it possible to protect children and minimize disruption to families by having public health nurses evaluate children in their own homes.

In order to enhance all six medical hubs at county hospitals, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services will allocate $2-million to fund 14 new positions for doctors, nurses and one fellowship position. Annually, the Department of Children and Family Services estimates nearly 17,000 infants under the age of two in Los Angeles are at the greatest risk of being harmed.

“The time is now to move on the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations. The protection and well-being of children in our care should always be top priority,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who co-sponsored the motion with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “All children in L.A. County deserve a fighting chance. They should be able to grow up healthy, free from abuse and in nurturing environments.”

Added Supervisor Kuehl, “I am very happy there are steps we have taken today reflecting the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission.”

The Blue Ribbon Commission for Child Protection was formed last year, based on a motion by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, to improve the safety and well-being of children in the child welfare system. The commission, comprised of experts in child welfare, social work and other areas, has issued two reports with recommendations for improving the system in Los Angeles County.

Frequently Asked Questions On Safe Sleeping

Q. Is there a risk of choking when my baby sleeps on his or her back?

A. No, babies automatically swallow or cough up fluids. Doctors have found no increase in choking or other problems in babies sleeping on their backs.

Q. What about side sleeping?
A. To keep your baby safest when he or she is sleeping, always use the back sleep position rather than the side position. Babies who sleep on their sides can roll onto their stomachs. A baby sleeping on his or her stomach is at greater risk of SIDS. Some infants may have health conditions that require them to sleep on their stomachs. If you are unsure about the best sleep
position for your baby, be sure to talk to your doctor or nurse.

Q. Are there times when my baby can be on his or her stomach?
A. Yes, place your baby on his or her stomach for “tummy time,” when he or she is awake and someone is watching. When the baby is awake, tummy time is good because it helps your baby’s neck and shoulder muscles get stronger.

Q. Can I bring my baby in bed with me to breastfeed?
A. Bringing your baby into bed could be risky for your baby. An adult bed usually has a soft
mattress and bedding such as comforters, quilts, and pillows. If you choose to bring your baby in bed with you to breastfeed, it is safest to return your baby to his or her crib. One way to keep your baby close to you is by having the baby’s crib in the room with you.

Q. Can my baby share a bed with her brother or sister?
A. Bed-sharing with other children, including brothers and sisters is unsafe for your baby. It
increases the risk for SIDS as well as suffocation. There have been reports of infants being suffocated from overlying by an adult, brother, sister, or other family member that was sharing a bed with an infant. 

Q. Will my baby get “flat spots” on his or her head from back sleeping?
A. For the most part, flat spots on the back of the baby’s head go away a few months after the baby learns to sit up. Tummy time, when your baby is awake, is one way to reduce flat spots. Another way is to change the direction you place your baby down to sleep. Doing this means the baby is not always sleeping on the same side of his or her head. If you think your baby has a more serious problem, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Source: U.S Department of Health and Human Services - Institute of Health