During a public session on July 12, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to follow the recommendations in Larson’s 634-page report to improve County services provided to children in foster care, transitioning youth, and adults under conservatorship.
The report concluded 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. Larson 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.
Partners Stephen G. Larson and Hilary Potashner gave an 18-minute presentation of the report to the County Board of Supervisors (minus Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, who was absent) prior to the Supervisors’ vote to follow through on the firm’s 75 recommendations and hundreds of actionable steps.
Stephen and Hilary reviewed the report’s main points, both positive and negative. This included recognizing the good work done by County employees, “who are passionate about protecting at-risk children and adults despite systemic hurdles,” Stephen stated. He identified the 40% vacancy rate of caseworkers as a major hindrance, noting, “I could not run my law firm with a 40% vacancy rate.”
Stephen also confirmed that “not one dollar” of money meant for the Turpin siblings “was misappropriated or misused by the County.” The issue was the siblings had difficulty accessing their intended resources because of “complicated and confusing legal proceedings.” He emphasized the positives of the County’s child and adult protective services and expressed the services are “on an upward trend.”
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. The report contained 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. A redacted version of the report was released to the public on July 8 to comply with a court ruling protecting the Turpins’ privacy.
Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, while noting parts of the report were “painful to read,” commended Larson for the thorough investigation and report. “We spent a lot of money on [the report],” he said. “And you delivered.”
An article by The Press-Enterprise covering the Board of Supervisors session shared District Attorney Mike Hestrin’s reaction, who said he “read the unredacted version of the Larson report and felt it largely addressed the issues he raised with ABC News” at the time of the “20/20” special. He stated that the report was “hard-hitting and accurate” and he “agreed with Larson’s recommendations.”
In addition to Stephen and Hilary, the Larson team who worked on the extensive report includes associates Andrew J. Bedigian and Jonathan Gershon.
Read the full article by Jeff Horseman and Brian Rokos of The Press-Enterprise here. Other media coverage includes: