The recent arrest of Marcus Fisher in Las Vegas, the murderer of 6 year old Dae'von Bailey, has brought the failure of the Department of Social Services to the attention of citizens nationwide. Fisher had been pursued and is now being charged with the murder of Dae'von Bailey on July 23rd. This article will address the apathy (fiscally rationalized)prevalent and how easily and often, neglected and abused children are allowed to fall through the cracks. What you will discover is that, all too often, these tragedies could have been avoided simply by people doing their jobs. You will also see how budget cuts in many states have resulted in the deaths of children who are forced to live in similar conditions that Dae'von lived in.
Fisher was arrested on August 19th after evading police since the murder. His arrest was the result of a manhunt that involved members of the LAPD, Las Vegas PD, and the U.S. Marshall's Service. I think it's important to note that this multi-agency task force was created in a matter of days. The irony of this will become clear as the details of young Dae'von's story is unveiled.
"In the months before he died, Dae'von told adults at school that Fisher had punched him in the stomach and had slammed his head into a bathroom sink. He repeated the complaints to social workers who interviewed him and to medical professionals who examined him for injuries. But he was sent back twice to his violent home."
There is definitely enough blame to be placed concerning this horrible story. There are also a number of questions that need to be answered. The question that I have is: Why is it possible for law enforcement agencies to coordinate efforts to apprehend a single person when schools, social service agencies, and the medical community are unable to share information that would have saved the life of a young boy?? Much of the blame for the inefficiency of the DSS can be placed on the fact that these agencies are often the target for budget cuts. California, a state deeply affected by the present economic climate, has proposed to slash $3.3 billion from the system.
"According to research from 2008, 14 children who died under the protection of child welfare agencies in L.A. were neglected because of 'breakdowns in the system in which some agencies knew about potential abuse but failed to share their information with other agencies. In other cases, investigators found that poor decisions by social workers had contributed to their deaths.'"
Though budgetary problems contribute to the allowance of neglect and abuse perpetrated against children; it does little to excuse the death of Dae'von and others. The L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services had received an estimated 12 complaints of abuse concerning Dae'von; many of which were reported by the school. Despite these complaints, the agencies involved were unable to effectively work together to remove Dae'von from an obviously dangerous environment. Yet, after the murder; a multi-agency task force was quickly formed (no problem with coordination there). Is it too much for us ask that people do their jobs?
Information for this article was derived from the following sources: