When 7-year-old Eddy Tuinman was found abandoned and abused near Boise, state officials were able to take measures to protect his siblings because his parents were arrested.
Siblings of an abused child don't always get help until they are themselves abused, and a Utah lawmaker wants to change that.Rep. Grant Protzman, D-North Ogden, is sponsoring HB165, which would allow officials to monitor the well-being of other children in a home where neglect and abuse has occurred. The House Social Services Standing Committee Monday voted to approve the bill.
Marilyn Sandberg, director of the Weber/Morgan Counties Child Abuse Coordinating Council, told the panel about cases where children suffered because they were not protected, even from known abusers.
In Weber County, for instance, 2-year-old Preston Sherman died from child-abuse syndrome. Although his mother's live-in boyfriend was charged with the death, he was out of jail and back visiting Preston's mother and baby sister in no time. Although there was concern for the new baby's health and safety, the court had no jurisdiction over her.
"This bill gives us probable cause to monitor what could be a bad situation," Protzman said. "That's all we're asking for. The right to monitor it."