There is a father in Milwaukee with a lot of questions about a fire that killed his stepchildren. Three boys left alone by their mother, his wife, from whom he had separated. The boys were supposed to be watched over by one of her relatives who was were nowhere to be seen. All of these children had special needs but the most important need they had was to be kept safe from harm. But the adults who were in charge failed them miserably. If not for an accident of fate, their other sibling would have died in the fire, too. He was with his father.
When I saw the story on the news, I learned that there had been recent incidents in which the mother had left the children alone at home and in public places that should have raised a red flag with the Bureau of Child Welfare. The stepfather had not been notified about these incidents. But surely someone could have recognized the pattern of neglect that was taking place and intervened on behalf of the children.
I have no doubt that the Bureau of Child Welfare is full of compassionate people but whenever they are mentioned in the news, it’s usually associated with children whose lives were cut short. There have been law suits and other attempts to reform the system. There have been changes at the top, town and sideways.
Mental illness often interferes with parenting responsibilities. A number of the people I assist have lost custody of their children. But in this case all it would have taken was one person with time to assess the facts related to leaving the children and make an emergency decision to remove the children. The Bureau is reviewing the case now, but they’re a few days late and many dollars short.
- Woman wanted, charged in fire that killed her mother, stepfather (wcnc.com)
- Mother in custody in fatal fire that killed 3 (weau.com)