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Demonstrators Push For Reform After Death Of Palmdale Boy, 8

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Demonstrators Friday gathered outside the County of Los Angeles, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to push for reform following the death of an eight-year-old boy from Palmdale.

Jillian was among two dozen protesters to stand outside the DCFS offices in Koreatown.

She told CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen that she wants to see change before her 9-year-old daughter meets the same fate as Gabriel Fernandez.

Fernandez died on May 24 after sustaining a massive skull fracture and other injuries in a case of suspected child abuse.

Jillian says she lost custody of her daughter during her divorce because she had reported sexual abuse against her daughter allegedly by her ex-husband.

She says her daughter’s case is similar to Fernandez’s because there were multiple reports of abuse. But Jillian says DCFS declared her accusations unfounded.

The department says that it cannot comment on her case but points out that the courts determine custody after the agency makes its recommendation.

Armand Montiel of DCFS says Fernandez’s death has been very hard on the agency, reported KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby.

“All of the emotions that have been expressed are felt by us in the department,” he said. He said the department investigates about 150,000 children every year.

An investigation into Fernandez’s case is being finalized by DCFS but critics say the report should be conducted independently and from an outside agency.

“Right now the only police force and the only people who can answer these questions will only be able to answer them if a judge orders it,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-CA).

Two members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are expected to call for the creation of a task force to scrutinize how local agencies handle reported cases of child abuse.

Fernandez’s mother, Pearl, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, have since been charged with one count each of capital murder. They are awaiting trial.

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