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Investigative Reporting Program

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Child Welfare

How misguided policies and systems fail to protect children in peril.

Learn more about the Investigative Reporting Program.

Before a 4-year-old boy’s killing, authorities wavered on rescuing him

An investigation by the Investigative Reporting Program and Los Angeles Times uncovered how failures in the child welfare system led to a young child's death.

They’re children at risk of abuse, and their caseworkers are stuck home

Garrett Therolf, Daniel Lempres, Aksaule Alzhan, Laurence Du Sault, Ricky Rodas & Alyson Stamos report investigations into abuse or neglect delayed or sharply curtailed.

The horrific death of Anthony Avalos and the many missed chances to save him

IRP reporter Garrett Therolf reports on the tragic death of a 10 year-old boy and how child welfare workers missed warnings and opportunities to intervene.

Social workers didn’t remove boy from his home despite court order. He later died

In this piece for the Los Angeles Times, IRP reporter Garrett Therolf and J-School student reporter Alyson Stamos cover the suspicious death of a young boy who was allowed to remain with his parents despite a court order.

Counselor testified she didn’t report suspected abuse to authorities before Gabriel Fernandez was killed

IRP reporter Garrett Therolf reports in the Los Angeles Times that an employee of a contractor paid millions by the county's Department of Children and Family Services failed to pass on information about eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez's abuse before his death. As someone working with children, she was required by law to share this information with authorities.

Anthony Avalos was extensively tortured over days before dying, prosecutors allege

IRP's Garrett Therolf reports on the horrible circumstances that culminated in a 10-year-old boy's death

Before his death, 10-year-old Anthony Avalos came out as gay, official says

IRP's Garrett Therolf reports on the investigation of the death of a 10-year-old boy

Inside a mom’s months-long fight to get back her children

In this collaboration with Common Sense Media and the Los Angeles Times, IRP's Garrett Therolf was granted a special court order that allowed him to be present for one mother's interactions with child protective services and the courts.

L.A. County makes it easier for probation workers with discipline problems to get promotions

IRP's Garrett Therolf reports on how L.A. County makes it easier for probation workers with discipline problems to get promotions