We don't understand the reluctance Huron County commissioners have shown to a call for a more thorough look at the operations of the Children Services wing of the county Jobs and Families agency.
A woman who served on the jury that convicted Michael and Sharen Gravelle of abusing some of their 11 adopted children told commissioners last week the agency had failed to remove the children from the Gravelle home in 2003, when agency caseworkers first became aware that the couple was making some of the children sleep in "cages."
Another resident also implored the commissioners to something.
Part of the problem, said that resident, a court-appointed advocate for children, is that everything operates on the idea confidentiality is always in the best interest in the child.
We agree. Too often the protection of privacy means agencies that could combine forces to help don't talk to each other, are in fact forbidden from doing so in some circumstances, and so information that could help a child, or even prevent an egregious wrong, does not get to the people who can best put the information to use.
And agencies and people used to operating in a cloistered, need-to-know environment soon get used to the condition that naturally follows from such an environment: Absolutely no oversight or supervision.
By all accounts it took two years, from the time caseworkers first had knowledge something might be out of the ordinary at the Gravelle home in Clarksfield Township, for the machinery meant to help kids like them to grind into motion. During those two years, the only ones who knew for sure what was going on were the Gravelle children and the Gravelles themselves.
How many more children need guardian angels who talk to each other? Not many, we hope, but when the situation is so easily preventable, one is too many.