Anthony Avalos’ death and the missed chances to save him

Anthony Avalos was the fastest runner in his fourth-grade class at El Dorado Elementary School in Lancaster.

Anthony would never return to school after classes ended last year. The next month, the 10-year-old arrived at a hospital emergency room with fatal bleeding in his skull.

He earned a place on the honor roll, and his teacher, Harmony Bell, noticed an uncommon emotional maturity for a boy his age. He often collected his thoughts before speaking, asking Bell if he could step out of the room and take a few deep breaths.

When a new student joined the class, he asked to move to a neighboring seat, hoping to be the friend the newcomer needed.

Yet Bell saw that Anthony was often nervous about something. He held his Bible tightly throughout the day, once quaking with tears when it fell to the floor.

His body showed signs of prolonged abuse. His skin was bruised and burned from head to toe. His once-healthy frame had wasted to skin and bones.

Anthony Avalos autopsy report

Andranik Madikians, one of the physicians at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital who tried to save Anthony, recalled looking down at the boy and saying, “Oh, my God. How does this happen?”

Anthony had been under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services sporadically over a four-year period beginning in 2013 and ending in 2017 — more than a year before his death.

Read the entire article here.

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NACAC – Adoption and Foster Care Conference – July 18-20, 2019, Las Vegas, NV

Do you know people who have been touched by adoption and foster care? 
Help parents and caregivers, child welfare professionals, prospective adopters, advocates, and adoptees, better support children by inviting them to NACAC’s 2019 adoption and foster care conference! Register for NACAC’s three days of expert presentations on adoption and foster-care related issues. Download the pdf here.

It’s Tax Season: Los Angeles foster parents and relative caregivers can obtain their foster child’s social security number for tax purposes. Here’s how.

Read LA County DCFS Policy regarding social security numbers for caregivers by clicking on the headline and then following the links here. Or you may cut and paste the following link in a web browser http://dcfs.lacounty.gov/Policy/FYI/2018/004211_SSNtocaregivers.pdf.
If you are caring for a Los Angeles County foster child and encounter difficulty obtaining the child’s social security number, contact DCFS using the dedicated email address where foster parents may direct social security number-related inquiries: SSNInquiries@dcfs.lacounty.gov

Camp Clio – A Seriously Fun Place for Adopted Kids – Registration Open

Camp Clio 2019 will be held August 4-17 at YMCA’s Camp Jewell in Colebrook, CT. Registration is now open!

“Why was my family created differently?” Adopted children, whether adopted internationally, domestically, or through foster care, share this same basic question. Though each child’s story is different, many of them face questions like “Who is your real mom? Why did she give you away?” Adopted children need a comfortable, non-judgmental place to try to understand their birth story – to realize others share these same issues and that they are not alone. Camp Clio provides this opportunity in a fun, old-fashioned camp setting with other adopted children and adopted counselors who share their cabins and act as role models. Camp Clio is for adopted children ages 9 – 14.

Since 2012 adopted boys and girls have made friends, had fun and flourished in our unique program. Camp Clio is proud to collaborate with the YMCA’s Camp Jewell in Colebrook, CT, where we have our own “Village” – Camp Clio Village.

Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program Guest Lecture by Deborah Dentler “Child Welfare: Foster Care System Reform”

Watch the video recorded lecture “Child Welfare: Foster Care System Reform” by Deborah Dentler on February 8th, 2018.

Click on the title for a link to the video and more details.

Guest speakers include Deborah Dentler, Attorney, Law Office of Deborah Dentler, Garrett Therolf, Senior Investigative Reporter, University of California, Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program and Common Sense Media, and Mark Hamlin, HLS ’16, Associate Attorney, Baker Botts LLP.