Minutes matter in child safety

Published 8:21 am Monday, June 5, 2017

Nineteen days. That equals 456 hours or 27,360 minutes.

Any way you count it, that is far too long to wait when it comes to putting the safety of children first here in the Bluegrass State.

Clearly, the system failed two Clark County children and it is very fortunate that the outcome wasn’t far worse. In fact, this incident points to the fact the system may be broken entirely.

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On May 12, two children, ages 6 and 9, reported to their school guidance counselors that their mother’s boyfriend tied their hands, suspended them from the ground in such a way that only their toes touched and proceeded to beat them with a rope and cellphone charger while their mother watched.

No rational adult would feel this is an appropriate form of discipline or punishment, regardless of the transgression.

Our information shows the guidance counselor did the right thing and immediately contacted state social workers. What happened next is a giant unknown until May 31 — 19 days later — the sheriff’s office was contacted for assistance and arrested both adults involved.

While we must always remember that those arrested are innocent until proven guilty, the individuals were charged with fourth-degree assault, first-degree criminal abuse and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.

They will get their day in court and the truth will come out.

The questions remain: Why did it take so long? Where was the breakdown in a system that absolutely must move with urgency to protect our children?

We urge state and local officials to push relentlessly for answers as they relate to this specific situation but, more importantly, determine if this slow-moving system is the exception or the rule here in Kentucky.

Every second counts in situations like this and can certainly be the difference between life and death.

Finding answers now could save lives later.