Why this petition matters
The horrific tragedy of Oakley Carlson could have been prevented. EVERY CHILD needs a NETWORK of safety measures in place. Not just at-risk kids, but ALL children, and ESPECIALLY at-risk kids. It takes a village to keep a child SAFE and moving through their life healthy and well. By default but extreme blessing, most children are surrounded by "well-child" checks but this is not true of all children, and was certainly not true for 5 year old Oakely Carlson; Oakley was removed from her foster placement, reunited with her bio parents and is now presumed dead. For more than a YEAR, Oakley went unaccounted for and suffered at the hands of her bio-parents.
Oakley's safety net failed her and it didn't have too and should never have! While EVERY child needs a safety net of support- not a single string from CPS- a child being placed back into a home with parents who have had an obvious history of struggle (and that is mild), should never be placed back until a fail proof network of support is established; like a 5 point safety harness of a car seat, there should be a law requiring a 5 point safety network for every foster child placed back into the home. This ensures, if one point of safety fails, the child is still held safely by the others still intact. Yes, CPS/DCYF failed Oakley, but there should have been a handful of other accountable and intentional supports; we have seen over and over, 1 point of contact through CPS/DCYF is tragically not enough. Maybe its a medical professional, a school district contact, a community liaison, a designated family member, a church designee- there are ought to be people who care enough about children, they would serve in the expanded yet essential role of being a PART of a child's INTENTIONAL safety support system.
In addition to the required 5 point safety net, we are proposing that all parents being reunited with their children provide a drug-free screening on a regular basis as part of ensuring a child's health and well-being post reunification.
Please join us in making sure Oakley's story is never repeated. WE ALL can do better by children!