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CPS deserves support, and so do other programs

Many of us in the Buffalo area are speaking out about what they see as the mishandling of Child Protective Services and what has been characterized as a hugely flawed system. I feel compelled to speak out in support of CPS. I also feel compelled to let the community know that there are alternatives to just calling CPS and hoping for the best.

It may be that the relatives of Eain Clayton Brooks were not aware of the kin care-grandparents rights project sponsored by Legal Services for the Elderly and Neighborhood Legal Services. Not a lot of people are. We are in Family Court every day helping concerned relatives ensure the safety of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

We don’t take every case. We have very limited resources, but we do help many families protect children who are not capable of protecting themselves. I also see every day the hard work and compassion displayed by the men and women of CPS. Every day children are protected by this necessary governmental service. I’m not saying that we always agree with the worker’s positions, but much more often than not we do.

Grandparents have frequently turned to our program when CPS has not worked as quickly as they had hoped. Family Court is available to seek relief on an expedited basis. The public has to know where to go and about an option such as emergency petitions before a Family Court judge.

No system ever will be perfect. Yet for every Eain there are scores of children who were saved from that awful fate. Our system is in no way “hugely flawed” as some have opined. CPS does a terrific job given the limitations of any agency. I also think that Legal Services for the Elderly and Neighborhood Legal Services do great work. We always have to strive to do better.

Bashing CPS for the sake of spouting off does no one any good. If anyone wants to be an advocate for the public good, then they should get off their soapbox and start working with and supporting the resources at hand.

David A. Shapiro, Esq.

Staff Attorney

Legal Services, Elderly of WNY