Today’s Buffalo News editorial calls for an investigation into CPS surrounding the case of Abdifatah Mohamud, who was brutally beaten and killed last month. His step father is accused in the murder:
Someone from the state level needs to investigate this disastrous series of events, and the results need to be made public. There are good reasons for some confidentiality in child abuse cases, but when the system itself appears to have crumbled, resulting in a child’s horrific death, then the public needs to know how well a critical service funded by its tax dollars responded.
This starts as a county matter, so if he isn’t doing it already, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz needs to pull apart the system as it dealt with Abdifatah and determine where, if anywhere, it went wrong. Is there a problem with training? Funding? Staffing? Leadership?
State legislators have a role to play in this, as well. While there is a case to be made for a degree of confidentiality, that confidentiality also has its costs. Openness breeds compliance and diligence better than secrecy does, and with lives plainly on the line, some level of routine public accountability is required.
It is true that the system has to be wary of false or misleading allegations and the damage they can do to individuals. That is a serious matter. But the system also has to do a better job of keeping children from being beaten to death.
The investigation into how Abdifatah so tragically fell through the arms of the child protection system should already be under way. There are no moments left to waste. Or lives.
WNYmedia.net is joining the Buffalo News in the call for a full investigation into why the Erie County Department of Social Services is not doing enough to protect children from dangerous people.
Back in November, I wrote a personal plea to Erie County voters about the devastating cuts and lack of services being provided by Erie County DSS and Child Protective Services in the hands of the then Collins administration.
In July, I had my first experience with the Department of Social Services. Some ongoing parental neglect issues involving a 7 year old boy had been brought to my attention.
For background, the boy is just about 7 years old with special needs. He needs to be administered daily medication which is not only needed for his well being, but to control some of his ongoing health concerns.
For months prior, there had been a laundry list of questionable neglect and safety concerns while the boy was in his “fathers” (And I use that term loosely) care. Unexplained cuts and bruises, being left unattended to play with matches (see picture below), improperly secured firearms in the house, Letting a 7 year old shoot guns unattended, failure to dispense needed medicine and inadequate supervision when the boy was found wandering in the woods behind his house. Just to name a few.
Unfortunately, it may have taken the death of an innocent 10 year old boy to open people’s eyes into the dysfunctional CPS system.
I can update you that since I wrote that story, CPS has been called at least three more times over serious concerns about the childs health and well being. One was even placed by his School but has not been acted upon to this date. Nor has any further action been taken by the department to ensure this child’s safety while in the presence of his abusive and negligent ‘Father’. And twice a week, his mother has to continue handing her son off to a registered child abuser.
Parental alienation, and now mental and emotional abuse by his ‘father’ have overshadowed the physical abuse for the time being and the case is soon to be in NYS State Supreme Court next week, but I can assure you that the court process is even more broken and dysfunctional then DSS. (That’s another post for another time.)
While the case I mention above is mild (at the moment) compared to a kid like Abdifatah, Is this where it starts? How big of a burn or how big of bruise before you do the right thing? Being beaten 70+ times with a rolling pin wasn’t enough? How long does the abuse have to continue before CPS does something to prevent it from happening again?
It was a horrible crime and, from all appearances, a catastrophic failure of a system that is meant to protect children like Abdifatah. And it raises a chilling question: What other children in our community are being failed at this moment? What other lives are at risk? Perhaps none, if we are lucky, but who wants to rely on luck, especially when Abdifatah Mohamud had so little of it? Someone needs to investigate.
It’s time something is done to fix this horrible broken system or it’s just a matter of time before they have even more blood on their hands at the expense of an innocent child.