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Local News in Brief : New Unit Urged for Child Welfare Cases

An independent review board should be created to monitor the handling of child-welfare cases by Los Angeles County authorities, according to an advisory panel studying the case of 10-year-old child actress Judith Barsi of West Hills, who was killed last summer by her father.

The Commission for Children’s Services sent a three-page letter to the Board of Supervisors outlining its recommendations. The commission is expected to discuss the ideas in detail Monday.

The commission recommended that an independent review board have authority to inspect confidential case files, sometimes at random. The 14-member commission does not have such authority without a court order and had to obtain an order to inspect Department of Children’s Services files on the Barsi case.

“We need somebody outside of the system looking at how it is treating children,” said Commissioner Nancy M. Daly, who was chairwoman of the advisory body when it began its review of the Barsi case.

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