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How a child abuse hotline is landing black kids in foster care




The Child Protection Hotline is the central point of intake for reports of child abuse and neglect in Los Angeles County. On average, 20 to 35 social workers at a time are taking calls from the Metro North office of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
The Child Protection Hotline is the central point of intake for reports of child abuse and neglect in Los Angeles County. On average, 20 to 35 social workers at a time are taking calls from the Metro North office of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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LA County's Department of Children and Family Services is the largest child welfare system in the nation. It serves roughly 36, 000 children a year,  many of them children of color.

Here's a possible reason why. 

A new investigation in the Los Angeles Times says roughly one in three black children are reported to the department's child protection hotline - before the age of five.

These calls are concentrated in South Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley,  areas with large African-American communities.

But what happens to the children once the call is made, and the social worker arrives to check on the abuse claim?

Garrett Therolf looked in to this issue. He's a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and Common Sense News. An account of his investigation appears in today's LA Times.

A Martinez also spoke with the subject of Garrett's piece, Monique Baker, a mother of four who fought for 10 months to regain custody of her children after facing allegations of child abuse.

To hear the interview, click the Media Player above.