Monday, April 2, 2012

Patch Hunky's Got a Point

First of all, this is super old news. I fell way, embarrassingly behind on my blog reading when I spent almost three hours of my day commuting to and from work.

In January 2011, a 15-month-old girl died in Point Marion. CYS got some criticism, and Zapotosky vowed to find out what went wrong and hold the responsible parties accountable. That's all well and good.

And then a four-year-old boy died in Springhill Township, and the issue is the same--multiple reports of abuse were filed with CYS, who did nothing. So the Patch Hunky called out CYS and Zapotoksy--but mostly Zapotosky--for it, and rightfully so.

Zapotosky told the Tribune Review, "When you bury two children in less than 12 months, it's not a number. It's a crisis."

Yeah, it is.

He blamed budget cuts on CYS failures, and I'm sure CYS has a lot going on, but how can you get reports of abuse and completely fail to do anything when your job is to do something? Unfortunately, as tragic as the deaths of children are, they're not surprising here anymore. Neither is the abuse or the fact that CYS is swamped. At the same time, though, the Patch Hunky points out that the commissioners can appoint as many CYS staffers as they need, and I'm guessing we need a lot.

Perhaps worst of all, though, is that this speaks to a larger problem. Sure, we can and probably should hold Zapotosky and CYS responsible to a degree, but what about the parents? Obviously, the cases of these two children and others will be investigated and charges pressed where appropriate, but the fact that two children died where abuse had been reported previously within nine months of each other shows that Fayette County has a real problem with child abuse. Maybe someone should be looking at how, if at all, that could be examined and stopped.

What's the remedy? How far does it go? Any factor could be considered here, the most glaring being cycles of abuse. If people report what they see and hear and speak out against it, assuming CYS can and does act, maybe children can be removed from abusive homes, helped, and the cycle stopped. Or maybe parents can be given resources and help with being good, non-abusive parents. Maybe the problem is people becoming parents before they're ready for whatever reason. Maybe the problem is the high poverty here.

Something has to be done somewhere, and maybe the beginning is in Fayette County homes.

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