Monday, November 12, 2012

Keeping abuse & neglect stories in perspective #FailedToDeath

I wanted to share a couple of things on my mind.

We worked long and hard to investigate both state and county departments of human services, as well as the overall systems in place to keep children from dying of abuse and neglect.

It hasn't been easy. We've been critical of the system.

We've shown how some 3,000 child abuse or neglect tips were not properly investigated. We've shown you the smiling faces of children who lived tough lives.

With all of the tough facts I'm reporting this week, I do think people in charge do want to improve the systems. There are hard-working caseworkers and supervisors out there. Caseworkers aren't after a big paycheck. Imagine if each day you had to go see kids in struggling situations. It would be very, very tough. The hard-working caseworkers deserve a lot of our thanks and gratitude for doing what they do day in and day out.

I don't have all the solutions.
Maria Gardner talks from prison.
Some progress is being made. El Paso County DHS changed its policy after Maria Gardner lit her children on fire. But we still don't have a full understanding of why the caseworker and a therapist didn't realize she was a danger to herself and her children.

Change is not as fast as anyone would like.

It's clear the system fails some children. I wish counties were able to share the whole picture with us when a child dies.

It doesn't sit well with me when I learn that the head of Adams County's Department of Human Services told my colleague, Jeremy Jojola, that he didn't want to release information in Andres Estrada case.

He asked Jeremy how he'd feel if his family lost a loved one and details appeared on television.

It wouldn't be easy for any of us. But how will we ever know of problems and find solutions if the facts don't eventually come out?