Full coverage: The death of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos


Anthony Avalos died on June 21, 2018, after arriving at the emergency room with fatal bleeding in his skull. At age 10, his 77-pound body showed signs of prolonged abuse.

Anthony had been under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services sporadically over a four-year period beginning in 2013 and ending in 2017. During that period, at least 13 calls were made by teachers, police, counselors and relatives to the child abuse hotline about Anthony’s welfare.

But child protective workers and others tasked with protecting Anthony missed numerous warnings and opportunities to intervene before his death, according to dozens of interviews and a review of court records, documents from DCFS and records of outside agencies hired by the county to help Anthony and his family.

In October 2018, a grand jury indicted Anthony’s mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, on charges that they murdered the boy and abused two other children in the household. Barron and Leiva have pleaded not guilty.

On March 31, a state licensing board imposed a four-year probation on Barbara Dixon, a contracted L.A. County counselor, for failing to report the suspected abuse.

A lawsuit filed by the family of Anthony Avalos in 2019 against the county, DCFS, and one of its contractors, sought $50 million in damages and alleged that social workers willfully disregarded concerns about abuse and failed to protect the boy before his death.

On Wednesday, the family and the county announced they had reached a tentative $32-million settlement.



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