Monroe County Legislator Justin Wilcox (D – Brighton) is calling on the Legislature to investigate the rise in child fatalities in Monroe County.
The request is spurred by the latest New York State cumulative fatality report which indicates that Monroe County had the second highest number of fatalities in the State – behind only Kings County – which is the largest County in the state with a population of over 2.5 million people.
Monroe County had one of the largest years over year increases in child fatality reports with a 93 percent increase.
Child fatality reports are produced under specific circumstances under State law including when a child dies that is either in the custody or care of the county or while a child is involved in an open child protective services case. For example, a child fatality report would have been produced for Brook Stagles because she had an open CPS case at the time of her tragic death.
“We learned from a state report that there was a 93 percent increase in the number of deaths in a year,” County Legislator Wilcox stated. “The sharp rise in deaths and the fact that we have nearly twice as many fatality reports as Erie County is alarming and highlights the serious problem we have when it comes to protecting our children. The State shut down our Family\ Assessment Response program, and our Department of Human Services has been under a State mandated corrective action plan because of concerns over our CPS program and now we have these appalling child fatality numbers. The Legislature can no longer bury its head in the sand. We have an obligation to the children of Monroe County to ensure they are safe – especially when they are in our care. It is time that the legislature takes its oversight role seriously and initiates this investigation so that we may better understand how to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future.”