Thursday, June 26, 2008

Find the common thread

Earlier this week, our local fishwrap, the Sacramento Bee, ran a two-part series on the failure of our county Child Protective Service agency to stop the murder of children who CPS had previously known to be abused.

The Bee gave a list and profile of some of the murdered children from the last 15 years or so. I will give an abbreviated version of that list with the relevant details that will enable you to find something in common with every single one of these children.
  • Julianna Lacefield, age 4, was beaten to death while in the care of her mother's boyfriend
  • Christopher Cejas, age 12, was starved, beaten and tortured to death by his father and stepmother
  • McImely Dearing, age 7, was shaken and beaten by his mother's boyfriend
  • Feliciana Reyes, age 10 months, was found dead in the back seat of her mother's car in 2004. The mother had stabbed her husband in the back (literally) in 2000.
  • Alexia and Akira Noel, age 3 months, were left in their car seats in a bedroom and died of dehydration and hyperthermia. Arrested were their parents: Vanessa Rose Hackett and Ernest Dashon Noel.
  • Travis Smith, age 2, died of a fractured skull after his father, Bradley Price, threw him into his playpen. Travis was Price's son by a girlfriend who dropped the child off for visits with Price, his wife and two other children.
  • K.C. Balbuena, age 3, was beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend
  • Daelynn Foreman, age 12, who had cerebral palsy, died of malnutrition and neglect in her mother's home.
  • Taylor Ward, age 9, was killed when her mother, Kahja Taylor, committed suicide by smashing her car into a moving train.
  • Tamalhya Moore, age 17 months, was smothered by her foster mother, Tamekca Walker.
Do you see the connection? Do you see what's missing from that list? In not a single one of those cases did the abuse happen in a home where there was a married mother and father who were both the biological parents of the child... you know, a traditional family? It was either a boyfriend, or a single mother, or two biological parents who, judging by their different last names, never married.

I have been sitting on this blog post for a few days now, but what finally prompted me to write about it was an article in todays Metro section of the Bee telling us of yet another dead child. Let's see who is responsible this time:
A 20-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the beating death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, authorities said. Thomas Jerome Martin was arrested on suspicion of murder and an assault resulting in the death of... Valeeya Brazile [who was] found unresponsive in her bedroom in the Fair Oaks apartment that Martin and the girl's mother shared...

...Martin and his girlfriend have a young child together, but Valeeya and her brother are not Martin's children.
Once upon a time in this country, the majority of children grew up in a home with both of their biological parents who were married. Now, the number of children who are fortunate enough to live in this arrangement are the minority. Does this mean that abuse doesn't take place in two-parent, married households? No. Does this mean mothers and their boyfriends can live together with a child and not beat him? Yes. But it is all about numbers, and the optimum situation is for a child to live with his married, biological parents. If that happened more often, perhaps we would see fewer of these horror stories.

Good Day to You, Sir


Glinda said...

Sadly there are new cases each and every day. I have been following these types of cases and it is in epidemic proportions. We must find the answer. Our babies are paying the price. Some are not surviving as in Trenton Quicks case...and countless others. Lets all put our heads together and figure out the solution!

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Earlier this year, or late last year, I ran across an article published in a major newspaper (what one, I can't remember) that put forth the results of a study about child abuse. I remember reading it and being absolutely appalled at the statistic of child abuse in homes where a child lives with a mother and her boyfriend. It basically said that kids who live in this situation are not safe. At the time I had a student whose mother was hauling him all over our county, where he was sleeping on the sofas of her boyfriend of the week, and quite frankly, when I showed our guidance counselor this article, she shook her head and said, "If he hasn't already been abused, it's a matter of time." Mom was smart in some respects. She never stayed anywhere long enough for DCS to catch up with her. It's disgusting. I see so many of these kids who are suffering at the hands of mom's current boyfriend. Even worse, many of these same kids have no biological father in their lives. None. I'm sick of these guys walking away from their responsibilities.

Don, American said...

What about that garbage article about Guantanamo? Don't you just love the Bee?

Babbie said...

And the major media portray couples who live together without marriage as simply another "choice." The children don't get to choose.

Anonymous said...

I was a friend, of Vanessa Rose Hackett. I knew her boyfriend Deshaun and I had a chance to meet Akira and Alexia, as well as their three year old sister Mercedes. I called CPS twice. Marriage had nothing to do with the death of those beautiful little girls. Vanessa is one of those people who god should not have allowed to breed. She was not in her right mind. However, Deshaun WAS the biological father of the twins and to this day, I feel the utmost sympathy for him. He loved his daughters and Vanessa. His only fault in this... Was not realizing just how much she needed help. The only mistake ANYONE made... Was not realizing that. Even CPS admits "They dropped the ball." The fact of the matter is not marriage, but paying attention to people who shouldn't be parents and getting the children out of that situation before it get's to the point where the children can no longer be helped. I was brutally abused as a child. Both my parents were biological and married. I do does not mean I won't abuse a child.

Chanman said...

Thank you for your comments Anonymous, and I appreciate your viewpoint, but my analysis stands. Please re-read the last paragraph of my post where I acknowledge that abuse does happen in traditional families and that abuse doesn't necessarily occur in non-traditional situations. However, STATISTICALLY, a child is much less likely to be abused if he lives with both of his married, biological parents.