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Don't look away

Register • May 15, 2013 at 6:13 AM

Excerpt: Karen Balconi-Ghezzi, the director of Erie County Jobs and Family Services and its children's services wing, previously said the agency did nothing wrong in the steps it took prior to the starvation death of an 18-month-old Vermilion boy.

She also stated caseworkers are not overburdened by the caseload at the agency.

But a state investigation ordered after the boy was found dead determined JFS failed to follow its own guidelines and protocols. The state report said JFS failed to properly investigate cases of neglect and abuse and failed to properly identify reports of abuse and neglect. 

After the state report was issued and an article about it was published in the Register last week, Balconi-Ghezzi was still defending the agency. In an email to a reporter after the article published, Balconi-Ghezzi pointed out the state report "also made it clear that the agency properly screened in the referrals from Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, 2012," concerning the boy's family. 

Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew died Nov. 6, 2012, so the complaints to which she referred as being "properly screened" were the ones filed after the boy had been starved to death. That, dear director, would be too little, too late.

We suggest Balconi-Ghezzi look the monster in the eye and fix what's broken. That, in our opinion, is a better option than pretending it's not broken.

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