Today, the Board of Supervisors established a committee that will be tasked with figuring out where Riverside County’s interagency systems can be improved to better protect vulnerable children and adults, while a former judge informed the panel that an investigation into the issues that inspired the committee, involving 13 siblings, was progressing.
Board Chair Karen Spiegel sought to establish a Learning Experts Committee to Evaluate Cross-Department Systems Improvement Opportunities, along with Supervisor Kevin Jeffries. It was unanimously approved.
"I'm concerned about all of the children in county care," Spiegel said. “We have to take care of all of them. We need a full independent review of the county’s systems and how we deliver care and delivery.”
Spiegel repeated the number 13
"Turpin children," whose parents were convicted nearly three years ago of inflicting severe abuse and neglect on the youths in their Muir Woods Road residence in Perris and other locations.
David Allen Turpin, 59, and his wife, Louise Ann Turpin, 52, were each sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison in 2019.
The defendants operated what prosecutors and investigators described as a “house of terror”, literally locking some children in cages or chains most of the day, forcing them to eat peanut butter sandwiches and burgers, making them sleep for up to 20 hours a day and only allow them to bathe once. year.
The parents also repeatedly physically abused them, resulting in injuries, and treated the children as if they were in a military barracks, forcing them to march in and out of the Perris home.
The conditions were revealed in January 2018 when one of the Turpin girls, then 17-year-old Jordan Turpin, escaped through a window and called 911. The victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old, placed in protective status. supervision, under the supervision of the county Child Protective Services or the Office of the Public Guardian.
They have been sent to foster homes and other facilities, but life has not improved much for some of the victims, as revealed in a nationally televised ABC News broadcast last month seen by Spiegel. .
The documentary stars Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin, with whom officers remained in contact with the Turpin children, and who told anchor Diane Sawyer that many of the victims had
"living in squalor."
“They’re living in crime-ridden neighborhoods. There’s money to study. They’re inaccessible,” he said.
"This is unimaginable to me, that we could have the very worst case of child abuse I've ever seen, and then we would then not be able to get it together to give them basic needs."
According to the broadcast, because of the high-profile nature of the abuse-torture case, there was an outpouring of public goodwill, culminating in an estimated $600,000 in donations raised for the Turpin children. The disposition of the those funds, placed in trust, remains uncertain because of the sweeping protective orders imposed by the judge handling the victims' conservatorship.
Jordan Turpin and her 33-year-old sister Jennifer Turpin, as well as their 29-year-old brother Joshua Turpin, told interviewers they were finding it virtually impossible to access the money for their needs.
Joshua Turpin said he wanted to purchase a bike for basic transportation and was denied access by the Office of the Public Guardian. Jordan Turpin said when she was taken out of extended foster care and designated an independent adult, she had no immediate shelter or ability to purchase food, without life skills training from years of being subjected to lockdown by her parents.
Anticipating the allegations and complications, the board in October retained the Los Angeles-based Larson Law Group, headed by former U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson, who has handled multiple major criminal and civil cases in Riverside. Larson and his team were appointed to investigate the Turpin children's treatment, as well as scrutinize the county's entire dependent care system.
Larson said the principal focus at the moment is the status of the six Turpin children who are still minors. He said operations within the Department of Public Social Services and the Office of the Public Guardian are being closely examined.
“We are assessing and analyzing the county’s quality of care, in relation to all dependent children and adults,” the former judge said. “Policies and procedures enacted in the last two years – we are assessing their effectiveness. We will provide a complete and comprehensive report of our findings by March 31. . We will introduce specific recommended policy and procedural changes.”
The cost of the Larson contract is not immediately available. The Ad-Hoc Committee meeting schedule was also not set.
Check out some of our previous reports on the Turpin family:
https://kesq.com/news/2021/12/07/following-questions-of-turpin-children-care-supervisors-approve-formation-of-committee-to-improve-foster-care-system/ Following questions about Turpin’s childcare, Supervisor approves creation of committee to improve foster care system