A snag in Riverside County’s safety net — one mentioned in an investigation of the county’s care of the tortured Turpin siblings — is the focus of a new state law intended to help at-risk children and adults.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Sept. 23, signed a bill that allows adult and child protective services to share information about clients and their families. Previously, laws intended to protect clients’ privacy prevented those agencies from comparing notes on the same people.
A lack of communication between agencies tasked with protecting vulnerable children and adults was cited in an independent review of allegations that the 13 Turpin siblings, found chained to their beds and subjected to a lifetime of abuse and neglect, were further abused on the county’s watch after being placed in foster homes and with the public guardian, which looks after adults who can’t care for themselves.
“A theme that crossed many of our interviews was the perception that (the public guardian) maintains a defensive posture and a reluctance to share information about clients and about its processes, making care coordination challenging,” read the report by retired judge Stephen Larson’s law firm.
A lack of data sharing can stymie at-risk children and adults from getting services to improve their lives, Larson’s firm added.
County officials lobbied for the new state law, which Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Yucaipa, sponsored and shepherded through the legislature.
“(The bill) creates a streamlined process to share information … ensuring a more efficient and well-informed response in situations that include vulnerable children, youth, seniors and dependent adults … ” Bogh said in a Monday, Sept. 26, news release.
The release quoted Supervisor Karen Spiegel as saying: “Focusing on client needs requires teamwork and this moves us one step closer to ensuring that our most vulnerable communities are receiving timely care and protection.”
Following the Larson report’s release in July, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors committed to overhauling its child and adult protective services.