What is going on in the Antelope Valley, specifically with young children dying?

Last summer, Noah Cuatro was taken to a hospital, after allegedly nearly drowning in the family’s pool. It was later discovered that the story wasn’t true and instead, he’d allegedly been abused. His father and mother were charged in the case and were indicted by the grand jury.

On Tuesday, a story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press, about a deceased 19-month-old boy who’d been identified.

He was a foster boy who died in Palmdale and of course, there is an investigation into his death.

Deputies responded to a call of a baby not breathing in the 5700 block of Monaco Lane, near 55 St. East, at 9 p.m., Friday, according to Lt. Brandon Dean of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the story said.

Joseph Chacon was taken to a hospital where he died, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, which reported that the case had been placed on a security hold.

The boy’s foster parents reportedly were questioned by investigators.

He was found unresponsive in a car seat, inside a vehicle, outside the home, according to broadcast reports that showed the vehicle being towed away and three other small children being taken from the home, apparently by L.A. County Child Protective Services.

Anyone with information is being asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureaus, or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous.

The way in which the Department of Child and Family Services in the AV handles abuse cases has been scrutinized — and with good reason. The list of children who were in the “system” and died, despite reports of abuse, keeps growing. We suspect Joseph Chacon will be the latest name added to that list.

DCFS has given many reasons for the poor handling of cases, to include a staff shortage and a very high case-to-caseworker ratio.

While those reasons are understandable, the fact remains that children continue to be abused and some are dying at the hands of their abusers. Despite the myriad reasons this is happening, it needs to stop.

DCFS needs to formulate a solid recruitment and retention plan, which will enable the department to sufficiently serve the families of the AV. There’s been discussion regarding this, but so far, nothing seems to have changed.

Residents are tired of hearing excuses as to why these deaths keep occurring. They all want action to be taken to ensure the safety of all children involved with DCFS. So do we.

It’s an election year, which means politicians are already on the campaign trail, asking for voters’ support.

Asking the person soliciting your vote, how they plan to deal with DCFS, is a good idea, before heading to the polls. They have the power to do something.

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