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letters | a baby’s death, a system’s challenges

We devalue the care of children, with fatal results

Mary McGeown, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, says that children grow up best with their parents (“Patrick backs DCF after baby’s death,” Page A1, July 12). Perhaps she would reconsider that statement if she had to explain to 3-month-old Anthony Gideika Jr. that his twin brother is dead, allegedly at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, and that little Anthony’s 3-year-old brother resides in foster care.

The evidence suggests that children grow up better in the context of families, provided that there is a consistent, stable, and loving adult who will nurture that child. Jennifer Nelson gave birth to twins three months ago who tested positive for drugs. Her older child was removed from the home a year ago. How did caseworkers determine that this was a safe environment within which children could thrive?

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Governor Patrick appears hasty in his support of the Department of Children and Families, the agency involved in decisions with respect to this family.

Yes, caseworkers are underpaid and overworked, but that is because as a society we continue to devalue the employment positions that are charged with the welfare of children. We turn a blind eye to the workings of a cumbersome bureaucracy and the needs of a population that has no voice — vulnerable children.

A recent UNICEF campaign notes that 24,000 children worldwide die each day of preventable causes. Sadly, Chase Gideika has become one more unnecessary death.

Michelle Novelle


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