Larson’s 634-page report was submitted to Riverside County on July 8, concluding the firm’s eight-month investigation into County departments associated with the services provided to the 13 Turpin children who were rescued from their abusive home in 2018.
Led by partners Stephen G. Larson and Hilary Potashner, the firm was hired to investigate the County in October 2021 after the preview of an ABC “20/20” special, which aired on Nov. 19, shed light on allegations that the Turpin children endured further mistreatment under the County’s care. More broadly, the investigation assessed the services provided by the County to all children in foster care, transitioning youth, and adults under conservatorship.
The firm’s investigation included assembling a team of subject matter experts from the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Los Angeles; and Virginia Tech. The team reviewed more than 30,000 pages of County documents and interviewed and surveyed hundreds of individuals, including two of the Turpin children. A redacted version of the report was released to the public also on July 8 to comply with a court ruling protecting the Turpins’ privacy.
Ultimately, Larson’s findings stated, “With respect to the Turpin siblings, we conclude there were many times over the last four years that they received the care they needed from the county. This was not always the case, however, and all too often the social services system failed them.”
“Some of the younger Turpin children were placed with caregivers who were later charged with child abuse,” Stephen and Hilary summarized in a letter to the County Board of Supervisors accompanying the report. “Some of the older siblings experienced periods of housing instability and food insecurity as they transitioned to independence . . . Many were caught in the middle of confusing and complicated legal proceedings . . . When they complained about their circumstances, they often felt frustrated, unheard, and stifled by the system.”
The report included practical and actionable recommendations to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and adults under the supervision and care of the County through a combination of policy, practice, and procedural changes.
In addition to Stephen and Hilary, the Larson team who worked on the extensive report includes associates Andrew J. Bedigian and Jonathan Gershon. Stephen and Hilary will present the report on behalf of the firm to the County Board of Supervisors on July 12.
Multiple media outlets covered the report’s public release, including: