BUFFALO, NY-- The tragic death of 10-year old Abdi Mohamid and most recently the death of 5-year old Eain Brooks have left New York State lawmakers with manyquestions.
The purpose of a nearly seven hour State Assembly hearing held in Buffalo City Hall wasto find out how the Child Protective Services system failed.
Both of the boys who diedcame from families where calls for help were made.
After Brook's death, a state official said they did some considered unprecedented. They reviewed nearly 900 Erie County cases. 200 of the cases were in need of more attention by Erie County.
"This review, quite honestly is the largest review we have ever done," said Laura Velez, deputy commissioner of the division of child welfare & community service for the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.
Erie County's social services commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer was put on the hot seat after revealingit took several months to hire six newChild Protective Services workers when she realized there was a need for more help.
Not everyone is ready to place all the blame on CPS. Ellen Kennedy is on the citizen review panel for CPS. She spoke at the hearing and said unfortunately tragedies will happen. "You just can not have a perfect system. It's horrible, but I think that's the reality. I mean there can be some changes in the system but I think we've just got to do something that families have sufficient resources to take care of their children.
Eain's family believes a better tracking system should be in place so that if a call keeps coming in about one child, red flags should go up. "If our society can give us a tracking number to track my order of underwear online, you mean my State can't give me a tracking number to see that a child is OK," said Robin Hart, Eain's maternal grandmother.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes called for Family Court and mental health services to have bigger roles in determining if children are safe in a home.
"Clearly there are problems. When there's a system set up to protect children and it doesn't do that. Then something is wrong," Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes said.