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Turpin children care investigation delayed due to bureaucratic hurdles

The investigation into Riverside County's foster care and dependent adult programs following the mishandling of the Turpin children case is delayed due to bureaucratic hurdles, an attorney said on Tuesday.

In Jan. 2018, authorities discovered the 13 Turpin siblings were held captive, abused, and tortured by their parents, David Allen Turpin, 59, and Louise Ann Turpin, 52, for years in their Perris home.

Locks on the beds of the Turpin children

The Turpin parents were found guilty and each sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison in 2019.

David and Louise Turpin

In November, two of the Turpin siblings revealed in an ABC News interview that some of the children are living in squalor despite $600,000 in donations and additional pledges of support.

Related: 4 years after rescue, some Turpin children still ‘living in squalor’ despite donations, pledges of support

In addition, a foster family with links to some of the Turpin children was charged after being accused of physically and psychologically abusing several foster children.

"They have been victimized again by the system," Mike Hestrin, the Riverside County district attorney, told ABC News' Diane Sawyer.

In October, the Board of Supervisors appointed Larson LLP, headed by former U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson, to investigate the Turpin children's treatment, as well as scrutinize the county's entire dependent care system to prevent something like this from occurring again.

Hilary Potashner, a partner at Larson LLP, provided an update on their investigation at Tuesday's board meeting.

She said the investigation is progressing but being weighed down by bureaucratic hurdles

"Because of numerous confidentiality protections and protective sealing orders ... we have been required to make and continue to make court appearances," Potashner said. "Our analysis cannot be complete without a review of all documents. The process of acquisition is slow but moving. We're hopeful records will soon be released by the Superior Court."

The investigation was expected to be complete by next week, but that deadline has been pushed back to May 31, 2022. Potashner said that at least three court hearings are scheduled in April.

"We're confident our report will contain highly relevant factual findings that will advance the goals of the county's social services programs," the attorney said.

She said that, to date, just over 85 interviews have been conducted, utilizing the expertise of sociologists, public policy analysts and other experts from UCLA, UC Berkeley, Virginia Tech, and other institutions.

Along with the Turpin children, Larson and his team were tasked with scrutinizing the county's entire dependent care system.  

The Ad-Hoc Committee, composed of Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Karen Spiegel, has been conducting an investigation separate but in line with the Larson probe, and Jeffries said Tuesday that it has been "the most frustrating time I've experienced as a supervisor."  

"The answer I keep getting (in testimony) is, 'I can't tell you that, supervisor,'" Jeffries said. "I've never experienced that before. It's been brutal."  

He said that so far the committee has confirmed the obvious -- county welfare personnel are "grossly under-staffed and over-worked,'' and too many cases involving vulnerable children and adults receive "minimal supervision."  

Spiegel, too, expressed frustration, but admitted that "our hands our tied," mainly because the Larson probe is incomplete. She and Jeffries have determined in their committee hearings that one of the most glaring shortfalls is a lack of "conversation between agencies."

"If you cannot talk and share, how can we do better work on behalf of folks?" Spiegel said.

The two supervisors' filed an initial report citing the need for "collaborative interagency" efforts so that county workers work as teams to better manage cases.

The supervisors also advocated the county's support for Senate Bill 1054, authored by Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Beaumont, which would remove some of the regulatory red tape preventing child and adult protective agencies from sharing information to enhance treatment and intervention practices.

Statement from County CEO Jeff Van Wagenen about the CPS Report

"While we continue to cooperate with Larson LLP and look forward to receiving their report, the important work of the Board of Supervisors’ ad hoc committee continues. This county is committed to making the improvements needed in the system, which will result in better, safer outcomes for vulnerable children and adults in our community. "

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates on this investigation.

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Check Out Some of Our Previous Coverage of the Turpin Family:

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Jesus Reyes

City News Service


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