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Suffolk County officials launch child safety task force following death of Thomas Salva | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


HAUPPAUGE, Suffolk County (WABC) — Nearly four years after 8-year-old Thomas Valva of Center Moriches froze to death, the brutal child abuse and neglect that led to his last breath still weighs heavy on many in Suffolk County.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced progress made to protect other children from harm in Valva’s honor – launching the CPS Transformation Act to form a task force led by Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman.

“Bringing together people who had a window into the world that Thomas Valva experienced,” said Kaiman.

The act of “bringing together people” is exactly how Valva’s elementary school teachers responded before his death, banding together to flood the state Child Protective Services hotline to report that Thomas showed up starving with scratches on his face, covered in urine and feces.

The new task force led to raising pay for case workers, along with the hiring of 46 new ones to bring the total number to 110.

Another issue has been the large caseload, which is something county officials say the new hires have helped with – lowering the cases to investigate per worker to mostly under 12 to be able to catch incidents like what happened to Valva.

The number of caseloads, now posted publicly online, for all to see and monitor.

“Transparent to the employees. Transparent to the ones that hold us responsible, the county executive office, legislators, but especially the people of Suffolk County,” said Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Social Services Frances Pierre.

RELATED | Protect Our Children: Surviving the System

Join Eyewitness News anchor Shirleen Allicot for a special focusing on children caught up in the foster care and juvenile justice systems

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