Last month, an 11 year old in Los Angeles committed suicide by hanging himself with a jump rope in his closet. And the first I'm reading of it is now, in the LA Times.
Apparently social workers had been visiting him for years and noted drugs, violence and neglect in his home, complete with a stepfather with a long history of abuse and domestic violence, who was court barred from living with the boy, but often present when social workers visited.
Although he had been placed in a foster home for about 15 months, social workers thought it acceptable to reunite him with his mother in 2008.
The day that the little boy killed himself, he spent the morning at school in an emotional state and crying. He told his school counselor that life was "unbearable," because schoolmates were bullying him, and his mother repeatedly struck him with a hanger and a shoe while his stepfather held him down. He told the counselor he wanted to kill himself. And yet instead of getting help, the boy was sent home to the mother that hit him and the stepfather who held him down to allow it.
The school did think to send a note to his mother and call social workers and police, but after a cursory search for weapons in the home and getting a statement from the mother who denied hitting the child, the social workers and police left. Apparently they intended to gather more info over the next week, but by the next morning it was too late.
LA blames the neglect on communications breakdown. Apparently, in a 2008 case involving a severely abused 5-year-old boy, a review revealed that eight separate agencies had more than 100 contacts with the boy's family, but those findings were not shared. When the child was finally removed from the home, he was so malnourished that his kidneys were failing, his hands burned so badly that he could barely unclench them.
But all these cases see is an article in the LA Times. Which is a start, but why aren't California politicians up in arms about this? Why isn't someone screaming from the rooftops? Someone should fight for these kids, even though their parents choose not to.