Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ridley-Thomas: Better Technological Tools to Protect Children


Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

L.A. County Board of Supervisors, 2nd District


August 24, 2009 Contact: Aurelio Rojas 213-280-6579

James Bolden 213-200-5314




He urges Dept. of Children & Family Services to seek out the

best practices currently in use to help save children’s lives


LOS ANGELES – Prompted by three deaths in a month of children whose

mistreatment had been referred to the county Department of Children and Family Services, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas today called for exploring new

technology that would improve how agencies share potentially life-saving



While applauding the department’s efforts to upgrade its current data system,

the Supervisor noted there have been dramatic advances in technology since the system was introduced in 1995.


“We are using old technology trying to confront new challenges,” Ridley-

Thomas said at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “I think we can do a

better job by being not only preventive, but pre-emptive. It’s time to seriously look

to the best practices currently in operation to do our job and do it better.”


The Supervisor was responding to a report by the department to the Board on

progress to enhance the County’s inter-agency Family and Child Index (FCI)

system and the implementation of a series of short, mid, and long-term goals to

improve the County’s Family and Child Index (FCI).


FCI technology allows various County departments to share information

regarding children services, health services, law enforcement, mental health

services, probation, schools and social service agencies.


The FCI system, which Supervisor Ridley-Thomas pointed out is currently

underutilized, would enable the County’s Department of Children and Family

Services to prioritize and deliver prevention and early intervention services to

children and families.


The Supervisors were also provided with an update by County Counsel on the

status of new legislation proposed by the Board to enhance the current FCI

system with data mining, including any legal issues that might be associated with full implementation of the system.


On June 30, 2009, the Board of Supervisors directed the County’s Chief

Executive Officer to report back in 30 days on the implementation of a series of

short, mid, and long-term goals to enhance and improve the County’s Family and Child Index (FCI).


Other concerns addressed in the report to the Board include:

Data components and coordination and application development, which

would need to be included in such a system;

How development of this system could be expedited;

Assurance that County agencies and employees are adequately trained to

properly use and promptly enter and update accurate information into the

FCI database;

A timeline for implementation of data mining solutions to enhance FCI,

which includes an expedited release of a Request for Proposals (RFP).

A proposed budget for full-implementation of the plan;

Outcomes of information-sharing models from other jurisdictions that

serve at-risk children and families through locally provided prevention and

intervention services.


The Supervisors instructed that all efforts to implement the initiatives be

communicated regularly to the Board on a timely basis, to ensure the well being

and protection of the children within the care of the Department of Children and

Family Services.

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