BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Eain Brooks, Abdi Mohamud, and Laura Cummings - each allegedly murdered by their own family members after suffering untold abuse for lengthy periods of time.
Erie County Child Protective Services, which is supposed to safeguard children, including these three, appears to have failed. The Department of Social Services is now under intense scrutiny from both Erie County and the state.
Now, by the end of the year, 96 CPS case workers should have less of a burden, as six new case workers, one team leader and three managers are hired. The Erie County Legislature approved the hires Thursday. Legislator Joseph Lorigo would have liked to add even more.
"What we need on the ground are case workers in the Department of CPS. There's been some unspeakable tragedies in the past weeks but also in the past several years with people dying under the care of Erie County," Lorigo said.
Last year, Abdi Mohamud was found beaten to death by his step-father. A few years before, Laura Cummings was raped, beaten and tortured by her mother and step-brother before being murdered.
And most recently, 5-year-old Eain Brooks, was murdered, police say, by his mother's boyfriend. Brooks' family believes his case slipped through the cracks.
Each year, CPS in Erie County handles about 10,000 cases, on average. Each case worker handles up to 27 cases, which is higher than the state average.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "I do not believe Erie County is failing the children of this community."
He welcomes the imminent state investigation of CPS. The Office of Child and Family Services will review all cases currently in county care.
"I'm just as angry and sad as everyone else regarding the issue of Eain Brooks, just as I was with Abdi Mohammud. I wish I had never heard those two boys' names because if I never heard those two boys' names, in all likelihood, they would still be alive," Poloncarz said.
The move to add more workers barely passed in the Legislature. The Republican Minority did not want to see management positions added to the department.
But in the end, the measure passed, 6-5. The county executive says these managers were needed to restructure the department.
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