Letter to the Editor

Submitted by Gail BoyceChild Abuse Awareness Advocate

December 24, 2012

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Gail Boyce, and I am a child abuse advocate. I am founder and organizer of The Zahra Baker memorial Charity Ride, for the last two years. Zahra was found dismembered in Caldwell County; a county I lived in for 30 years as a resident and a parent. She was a case within the DSS system in Catawba and Caldwell Counties. Zahra’s stepmother Elisa Baker was charged and sentenced in her death. Zahra was from Australia and a victim of child abuse and a cancer survivor.

The Zahra Baker Memorial Charity Ride raised almost $10,000 its first year, and benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Apex chapter of BACA ( Bikers Against Child Abuse) . In its second year it benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Children’s Wall Of Tears, a mobile rolling memorial of every child killed in the United States and lists each child’s name, age, state and reason for death, if available, by their caregivers to date. Many residents of Catawba and Caldwell Counties felt Zahra was a failure to protect within the Department Of Social Services System in these two counties.

It has come to my attention that now within your own county DSS system. More children are being put in harms way because of Yadkin County DSS failure to do their job.

In the case of Howard Snow Sr.’s grandchildren, Snow is the biological grandfather who has fought the DSS and judicial system in Yadkin County to protect his grandchildren from further abuse from the abusers.

In the state of North Carolina grandparents do not have any rights recognized by the NC Judicial system, but in the case of Mr. Snow’s two grandchildren, ages 11 and 15 years, Mr. Snow and his wife now have custody.

In the case of the the two youngest grandchildren, ages 21 months and 3 years, DSS has custody until a permanent custody hearing is decided in January 2013. But the children are safely protected in the home of Mr. Snow and his wife at the moment.

Here is the problem with Yadkin County DSS, the case worker has cited case overload and no time to inspect the home of the abuser where the youngest children have been ordered to go for unsupervised visits and overnight stays during the holidays.

Yet this same case worker finds the time to inspect the home of Mr. Howard Snow Sr. and his wife monthly!

Many child abuse advocates, including myself, are watching closely how Yadkin County DSS and the judicial system handle this case and the amount of protection given to these children.

Another child can not be a victim of failure to protect within the DSS and judicial system in NC.

I as well as many of my colleagues are an opponent of USC Title 42 Re-Unification of the family unit. I and many other child abuse advocates and child abuse advocacy organizations do not believe that a young child with no voice should be put back in the hands of their abusers with unsupervised visits and overnight stays where the home of the abuser has not been inspected. We do not believe in the confidentiality clause within USC TITLE 42 of DSS that protects the abuser.

We are prepared to do everything in our power with social media and local media outlets in NC to expose this case and the negligence of the Yadkin County DSS and judicial system to protect these children if any further harm comes to them.

Biology does not always make a good parent. Everyday in our country small children are treated like property within our judicial system and DSS with no voice to express fear and pain. I, as well as many others, are advocates for change within these systems whose statistics, year after year, prove failure to protect in every state in the US. It’s a broken system, federally funded, where our children have no voice and are the biggest losers.