Provide CPS with resources it needs to protect children

The abuse, maltreatment and deaths of children at the hands of parents and caregivers is abhorrent in a civilized society. These heinous acts must stop. They will only stop, however, with a focused, inclusive, vigilant effort that is communitywide. We are all stakeholders in making sure these acts do not continue. Recent tragedies underscore the urgency for corrective steps to prevent future occurrences.

The Erie County Department of Social Services is charged with the task of investigation and response to alleged instances. Serious questions have been raised and it is right that the department is held to the highest standard. It is my belief as a professional in the field of child welfare for over 30 years that DSS is capable of achieving that standard and protecting our vulnerable children. Having worked with Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer for many years, I am reassured that there is no more compassionate, dedicated and focused individual leading that effort.

The only way to achieve success for any endeavor is in having adequate resources to meet the task. I believe the department is under-resourced and therefore unable to be as effective as possible. The plan proposed by the commissioner will address the issues the department is facing. I urge the Legislature and county executive to support that plan and move us closer to a community that guarantees all of our children will be protected and cherished.

James W. Coder

CEO, New Directions Youth and Family Services, East Aurora