Riverside County’s top child protection official leaves after alleged botched investigations

The official in charge of Riverside County social services left her job after allegations that her department failed to properly investigate and report child abuse and neglect claims.

Susan von Zabern left her job as director of the Department of Public Social Services on Monday morning, according to the Press Enterprise. Her departure comes after the posting of an agenda item by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in late August about two lawsuits.

One of the lawsuits alleges that an adolescent girl was repeatedly sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend and impregnated by him at age 13. The other suit alleges that a 3-year-old girl was discovered to have been living with a deceased infant for nearly a month and was discovered hugging her corpse.

The Department of Public Social Services oversees Medi-Cal and social services enrollment and is responsible for protecting at-risk adults and children in the county.

Riverside County spokesman Ray Smith declined to comment to the LA Times, citing personnel privacy issues and pending litigation. A woman who answered the phone at von Zabern’s home phone number hung up on the reporter.


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