Cuyahoga County is changing how they handle child neglect cases (editorial)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The way Cuyahoga County handles child neglect and abuse cases is changing.

Last month, county leaders revealed a five-pronged plan for the handling of these cases, this action being taken following the death of Aniya Day-Garrett.

She's the 4-year-old Euclid girl who died after Children and Family Services investigated three reports the little girl was in trouble.

County Executive Armand Budish said when he made the announcement, "No child in danger should fall through the cracks." I think we can all agree with that sentiment, but will adding more layers to an already overloaded system really make a difference?

I can buy into two of the procedural changes.  It makes sense to increase the number of social workers to handle cases and assigning a county sheriff's deputy to assist with investigations.

The agency clearly needs the additional staff and assistance from law enforcement can only help to make the cases stick. But, I'm on the fence about the other three.

The creation of a customer service program only makes sense if those making the complaints are taken seriously.

A handpicked advisory board to include eight to 10 residents could be a good thing but only if the board reacts to the input it's given. And scheduled listening tours are a great way to get feedback from residents, but again the feedback must be received with open minds and reacted to accordingly. It's all about action, not words and committees.

Look, I applaud the efforts being made by the county and the dialogue generated since Aniya's death.  It's long overdue. I just hope, like i said, THAT TALK leads to action.  And the only action that's acceptable is innocent children caught in a worn out system live…..instead of die.

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