The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Missing kids cause for deeper investigations

Children are said to be the light of a parent’s life, but why are more and more children being abused or murdered by the people that should be caring for them? What is certain is that there is a problem in New York, a problem that must be fixed by more intense, far-reaching investigations.

In recent months, child abuse cases have surfaced in the metropolitan area. Both disturbing and captivating, child abuse has become a silent killer among children, for its incidents are not reported as often as they should be.

Case in point: Jan. 11, 2006 Nixzmary Brown, 7, was found dead in her Bedford-Stuyvesant home after allegedly being beaten and tortured by her stepfather. She weighed a scant 36 pounds and was reportedly tied to a chair as punishment.

Since then, there have been several other cases surfacing. Earlier this month, a Bronx woman and her companion were arrested after her 2-year old daughter died after ingesting cocaine and an opiate. The day after the cause of death for that case surfaced, a Long Island man was charged in a separate case for shaking his infant son to death. According to Newsday, “about a month ago, the accused man took his son to Good Samaritan Hospital for a broken arm, police said. At that time, investigators and doctors believed it was an accident.”

Innocence is destroyed by the maltreatment these children have endured. How can children be subjected to a life of fear, submission and violence?

Columnist Errol Louis of the Daily News points out a reason as to why this is not being handled immediately: “the city’s 22 judges who deal with child abuse and neglect are still swamped, with each judge handling 35 to 40 cases every day. A huge backlog is inevitable, since a small army of lawyers, parents, teachers, witnesses and social workers must all arrive in court at the same time for every case, making postponements common.”

Reckless abandonment by social services and advocates for child safety has been demonstrated by not tackling cases immediately. These published stories are the handful of thousands that occur each day.

“Child Protective Service has 60 days after receiving the report to determine whether the report is ‘indicated’ or ‘unfounded’,” as stated by New York State Services Law. The amount of cases overdue throughout the five boroughs and nationwide is anticipated to be astounding.

New York must investigate family violence at a wider scope. The innate fear all humans possess, as either the abused or innocent bystanders, should not be what bars our voices to save children’s (or our own) lives. The less child advocates do to work on abuse reports, the more often society will witness another eye-opening tragedy.

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