A blistering, internal report on the deaths of 15 children and the torture of one lays the blame on the County’s Department of Children and Family Services, saying that neglect and incompetency played a contributory role in the deaths of all but two children.

A flawed departmental structure left the most inexperienced employees in charge of investigating some of the most serious allegations of abuse that were reported to the County, which handles more than 160,000 calls to its abuse hotline each year. These employees are supervised by officials who disregard policy and are under-qualified, leading to a situation where the “blind leads the blind.”

In one situation, social workers were called to a home of a girl old seven times because of complaints. In each call out, the social worker was unaware of previous complaints. 2 year-old Viola Vanclief was killed by her foster mother.

In another case, a young boy called the hotline and reported that he was beaten and underfed by a drug-addicted mother. After she refused all five drug tests and scheduled meetings to discuss her child’s condition, workers closed the case and said that the child was not in danger. Police later rescued the boy from dark closet in the home, visible signs of heinous torture covering his body.

The current director of the Department was hired two months before the investigation and report were complete, and has placed the man in charge of creating the report in a senior leadership position to ensure reforms are made.

Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times.