LA County's Department of Children and Family Services receives 160,000 child-abuse hotline calls every year. In February, a scathing report commissioned by the Board of Supervisors blamed bureaucrats and social workers for leaving children in unsafe homes. In July, new management moved swiftly to fire four child welfare workers in the case of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy allegedly tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend. Later that month, yet another panel was created to investigate and recommend "sweeping reforms." This week, the union of 55,000 workers sued the County, claiming that an arbitrator's ruling to reduce worker caseloads is being ignored.