The Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, which previously released dozens of recommendations, said a "linchpin" of the suggested reforms is creation of a new child welfare czar position. The new executive would have broad powers to move money and people across departmental lines and create a more unified, countywide approach to the protection of children.
The commission said supervisors also needed to clarify a county-wide mission for protecting vulnerable children, with clear and reliable data gathering and goals to track the success of multiple county departments.
The commission of child welfare experts and community leaders was appointed by the supervisors last summer after the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.
The boy was found in May with his skull cracked, three ribs broken, and his skin bruised and burned. BB pellets were embedded in his lung and groin, and two teeth were knocked out. County social workers had investigated six reports of abuse but allowed Gabriel to stay with his mother and her boyfriend.
Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 29, and Isauro Aguirre, 32, each face one count of capital murder with the special circumstance of torture.