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Opinion

April 21, 2014

Cheers and Jeers: April 21, 2014

CHEERS to Child Protective Services workers in our three counties. The ones in Essex County were formally applauded at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting but we know the recognition extends to the employees in Clinton and Franklin counties as well.

The work these people do almost always goes unrecognized — that is, until a determination is made that a child’s home life is unsatisfactory, possibly damaging, and then antagonisms erupt publicly and privately.

But, in all cases, children who are being abused or neglected in one form or another have few defenses to throw up on their own. They could be victims to the end, unless someone in authority steps in to stem the catastrophe unfolding.

At the same time, though, Child Protective Services workers must summon the wisdom of Solomon, in many cases, to define real abuse vs. allegations based on a bias — or nothing at all.

As Essex County Social Services Commissioner John O’Neill told the supervisors, a very small percentage of investigations of complaints turn out to yield evidence of real abuse. Thus, the investigators must be careful, tactful and skeptical. It’s an extremely fine line they must walk. But it’s a very important one.

Imagine the torment children must be suffering when their parents or custodians — the people in whom all trust is placed — are acting against their best interests.

And also imagine the hostility the investigators face every time they begin an investigation. Accolades such as the ones paid in Essex County are well deserved and hardly repay the debt that all citizens owe to these individuals.

CHEERS to an anonymous good Samaritan who is just one more example of North Country caring.

This anecdote was shared with us by Plattsburgh City Councilor Paul O’Connell: “I was walking home from CVPH, and ahead of me about a half a block, I noticed a young lady and her daughter carrying quite a few bags of groceries, and it was really cold and windy.

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