Former Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley has been selected to help shape the county’s new effort to improve child welfare services.
Cooley joins a team of eight others chosen by the Board of Supervisors to define the duties and powers for a newly-approved child welfare czar.
“With his vast experience as a prosecutor, Steve brings leadership and good judgment and his legal background will be a positive asset in addressing the role of the courts in the child welfare system,” Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said Thursday.
Others on the team include David Sanders, the former Department of Children and Family Services director who recently led the county’s blue ribbon commission on child protection reform, and fellow commissioners Andrea Rich and Leslie Gilbert-Lurie.
The newly-created czar position will direct the Office of Child Protection and have authority over a variety of departments. The goal will be to better coordinate care and prevent problems that in recent years have led to child deaths.
To cut down on bureaucratic breakdowns that have also stymied foster care services and family reunification, the director will report to the supervisors rather than to various agency leaders.
Until the czar is chosen by the supervisors, the transition team will be responsible for advancing recommendations to improve medical screenings for foster children and other proposals.
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