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Failing to protect innocent life

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 23, 2006 03:55 PM

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Haleigh Poutre, 11

The latest on Haleigh Poutre: Gov. Mitt Romney has announced an independent investigation into the state’s abominable handling of the case.

Here’s Romney’s full statement (via the Boston Globe):

“One cannot look at the life of Haleigh Poutre without being overwhelmed with sadness. My heart goes out to her.

“Now I ask the question, what could have been done better to help her and to protect her. Yesterday, I read her DSS file. It is over 45 pages, mostly consisting of detailed evaluations and entries over almost 10 years. She was not someone who fell through the cracks — doctors and social workers were watching, but errors in judgment were made.

“I believe that the people in DSS did what they believed was right. No human is omniscient. But I wonder whether any changes in protocol or procedure may reduce the likelihood of error in the future.

“For this reason, I am establishing a panel to review in depth Haleigh’s case history and make recommendations they feel may help in the future. The panel will be announced as soon as possible, presumably by the end of the week. I will ask for their recommendations within 30 days. The panel will come from outside current government employees or officials.”

And this story published in the Boston Herald will make your blood boil.

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Nixzmary Brown, 7

Meanwhile, in NYC, there are parallel investigations into how city child welfare agents there failed 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown–whose stepfather and mother have been arrested for starving, molesting, and beating her to death after years of abuse and suspicions by school officials, neighbors, and others that she had been victimized–as well as other children under the watch of government protective services who were murdered:

Two key Assembly committees will launch a statewide investigation into New York’s child welfare system focusing on the vigilance, reliability and efficiencies of agencies charged with protecting at-risk children.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) called on Assembly Children and Families Committee Chair William Scarborough and Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Chair James Brennan to hold a series of statewide public inquiries into the operation and procedures for safeguarding the health and welfare of the tens of thousands of children statewide receiving child protective services, preventive services, foster care services, and adoption services.

Scarborough and Brennan immediately set an initial hearing for New York City on Feb. 9. They said additional hearings have been scheduled for Feb. 16 in Buffalo and March 2 in Syracuse.

Calling the four fatalities of children known to New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in the last two months “a stunning example of sweeping failures on many different levels,” Silver said the hearings would provide an open, public process for legislative oversight. Silver said the deaths of seven year-old Nixzmary Brown, 16-month old Dahquay Williams, seven year-old Sierra Roberts, and two month-old Michael Anthony Segarra were particularly troubling because each child was known to ACS.

More background on the case:

NYDN: Bound, beaten, starved, killed
AP: Final days of girl’s life reveal horrors
AP interviews Nixzmary’s accused murderer stepfather: Nixzmary was beaten for her “own good”
NYPost: Fight for Nixzmary sibs
ACS system back under harsh spotlight

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Previous/related:

Blogging for Haleigh
Haleigh wants to live
Standing up for the sanctity of life
When government cares for your kids, part II
When government cares for your kids
Homeschoolers vs. big brother

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