Over the last decade or so, crimes toward children have skyrocketed. Millions of children in our country suffer from some form of child abuse each year. A majority of children being abused, neglected or murdered by a parent or a caregiver has their name on a D.S.S file. The Departments of Human or Social Services throughout the United Stated has served as the front line defense to protect children. The initial purpose and still the basis of how the department of human services operate is to reunite families. Sadly, we live in a time where that reunification is nothing more than a death trap for many children. Children who are allowed to stay with, have contact with or returned to home of the malnourisher and or abuser is at a high risk of being abused, tortured or murdered. It's time for America to take a stand to protect it's own and realize that too many children are fighting a battle in their own homes they cannot win.
All Department of Human Services throughout the United States receive thousands of complaints of child abuse and neglect each year. Most Departments only staff a handful of investigators leaving them overwhelmed with cases. Children that desperately need help are being set aside or overlooked because the workload is too demanding. The Departments of Social Services keeps all complaints private and confidential and refuse to comment on cases where children that have been reunited with an abuser and killed until after the criminal proceeding and trials are completed, but at the same time,expect the community to do more to protect children. The reunification that D.S.S promotes is putting children in severe jeopardy and leaving D.S.S workers speechless when a child dies as a result of a reunification.
The fact that millions of children are dying each year as a result of neglect and abuse is a sure indicator that it is time for the policies and procedures in which child abuse reports are handled be updated or changed. Furthermore, D.S.S investigators should be better trained of the dangers and risk of placing an abused child back in the home of an abuser. I am well aware current laws may tie the hands of investigators. Better laws are needed to protect children. There are far too many cases to list here as an example; But I will refer to two.
1. Shaniya Davis 5 years old 2009- Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Cumberland County Department of Social Services received complaints that children were being abused in the Davis home, an investigation took place on one or more occassions. The children in question were allowed to remain in the home. After only 6 weeks of Shaniya going to live with her mother, five year old Shaniya Davis was sold by her own mother Antoinette Davis as a sex slave to repay a drug debt, Shaniya was raped and murdered and thrown on the side of the road. During the investigation the Cumberland County D.S.S director Brenda Jackson ordered that all information regarding this case be withheld ,information that could have led police and investigators to Shaniya's alleged murderer Mario McNeal and could have possibly saved Shaniya's life. Recently Shaniya's mother Antoinette Davis was indicted on murder charges in the death of five year old Shaniya Davis.
2. Addison Lanham 2 years old (2011) from Gaston County NC. Addison Lanham was living in a hotel room with her mother Shanna Lanham and her mothers boyfriend Jason Wells. Addison died from a MRSA infection that could have easily been prevented if Shanna would have sought medical treatment for her daughter. The MRSA infection was a result of a broken leg and a cut on Addison's private area. Shanna feared D.S.S would take Addison from her if she took Addison to the doctor. Instead Addison suffered a preventable death. Addison's family members contacted D.S.S on at least 6 occassions informing them that Addison was in danger and pleading for help. D.S.S did not even investigate the complaints weather it is because of too many cases or other reasons. The fact is, the Gaston County Department of Social Services was made aware of the danger Addison was in and did nothing to prevent this child from dying as a result of neglect.
With these two examples it clearly shows there was D.S.S involvement in each case and in both cases the child died as a result of D.S.S doing nothing about the complaint of child abuse or not handeling the case in a timely manner and failing to remove the children from an abusive and unstable environment.
No child in danger should be placed on a waiting list. No child should have to be returned to the home of an abuser only to suffer more abuse and in a lot of cases wait to be murdered by their own parent or caregiver.
Departments of Human Services should consider staffing the number of investigators available to handle complaints on the number of reports they receive and not staff investigators based on an annual budget. The Department of Human Services recieves the complaints and its purpose is to protect children, as it stand D.S.S is failing miserably in protecting children. If staffing is the issue that is preventing children from getting the help they need, changes need to be made to adequately staff all departments so that all complaints of child abuse are addressed and handled in a timely manner.
The laws that allow children back into the homes of an abuser needs to be updated or changed to consider previous abuse as a reason not to return the child to the abuser. D.S.S shares a responsibility in the death of many children because they failed to act, failed to protect the child. and did not take into consideration the risk and danger they are placing the child in, before making a decision not to investigate the case in a timely manner and the lack of following up with children to ensure they are not being abused. and lastly allowing children to return to the home of the abuser.
There are hundreds of cases that prove reuniting a child with an abuser is a deadly mistake, a mistake that the child pays for with their own flesh and blood and sadly, in a lot of cases their life!. Far to often cries for help are ignored. Hundreds of children are abused daily in the United States, experts suggest the increase in crimes toward children are a result of poverty and laws that are too lenient. Things have got to change for the well being and safety of children and you, our leaders, the ones we voted for and trusted to protect even our smallest citizens, we call on you today to demand changes in the way child abuse reports are handled, we call on you to address issues that are hindering helpless children from getting the help they need and deserve and we call on you to make it tougher for a child abuser to regain custody if a child has previously been removed from the home as a result of neglect and or abuse. We call on D.S.S to investigate all reports of child abuse in a timely manner, even if it turns out to be a false call and we call on D.S.S to provide continuous education for investigators in recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect and to take every measure possible to remove a child that is in serious danger from an abusive home.
Our children cannot afford for you to continue to ignore them, they need help now! Children are defenseless and too small to do anything about the hell they are forced to endure. Raising awareness is simply not enough, it is not the answer to ending child abuse. Children need lawmakers and legislators to hear their cries and give them the help they need and deserve. Change is needed now. Please take action. All children deserve the opportunity to learn and grow in a loving and caring environment, they are also entitled to that little thing in the constitution "the pursuit of happiness". but how can they pursue that right if they are dead? Please act now. D.S.S is the front line defense for children and the tools they are currently using are outdated and not effective in the world in which we live today. The old way in which D.S.S operates is putting children at risk and getting them killed.