Thu September 26, 2013
State will review cases handled by county's Child Protective Services
New York State is launching a review of child abuse cases being handled by Erie County Child Protective Services. The action follows last week's beating death of a 5 year old Buffalo boy.
Relatives of Eain Clayton Brooks have said they repeatedly called Erie County CPS workers to report suspected abuse. Police have charged the 26 year old live-in boyfriend of Eain's mother in connection with the boy's death. Matthew Kuzdzal faces second degree murder charges.
In a statement, the head of the state Office of Children and Family Services says the agency will review all open child abuse cases to determine if proper protections are in place.
“First we are conducting an immediate safety assessment on all open CPS cases to establish that the proper protections are in place to safeguard the children involved,” wrote Commissioner Carrión in her letter to Senator Kennedy. “In addition, we will be reviewing the next 200 cases prior to Erie County CPS making a determination that a case can be closed in order to assess whether the investigation was thoroughly conducted and that the conclusion is sound,” said Gladys Carrion, commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz says his administration will fully cooperate with the investigation.
"Maintaining children's safety is a responsibility that my administration takes very seriously. Yesterday, we agreed to a joint process with the NYS Office of Children & Family Services and advised OCFS that we would fully cooperate with them in a shared investigation, which then commenced. The protection of our children is of paramount concern, and we must take every step possible to prevent another tragedy," Poloncarz said.
State Senator Tim Kennedy called for the review in a letter to Commissioner Carrion last week.
"I'm pleased the state is using its authority to thoroughly investigate Child Protective Services in Erie County and taking further steps to protect the safety of our children. These are important and long-needed actions to root out child abuse in Erie County and across the state. We must never rest until we can ensure each and every child in Western New York and New York State is kept safe from harm," Kennedy said.
Kennedy is asking the state to make its findings public.