After a 3-year-old boy died, battered and sexually abused by his caretakers, fingers have pointed at his abusers, his parents, his neighbors and the Administration of Children's Services. Now lawmakers hope to new law can stop similar tragedies.
Kyle Smith had been in the care of his godmother Nymeem Cheatham and her boyfriend Lemar Martin when his mother needed help, as she battled her drug addiction. Though a court found Cheatham to be an able custodian, it turned out her four biological children had been taken away from her in Texas, leading an ACS spokesperson to say, "There is no national child-welfare database. We can only run records through the New York state child database."
City Councilman Bill deBlasio said, "We have all failed here. The system of protecting our children is broken across the board." He wants a bill that will allow child welfare workers access to state criminal records and eventually a national criminal database. Cheatham and Martin were indicted on manslaughter charges last week.
And Kyle's parents, Elliott Smith and Eugenia Holmes, have been arguing over funeral arrangements. Smith, who has claimed he tried to seek custody of his son but was overwhelmed when he went to court without a lawyer (Smith still cares for their 6-year-old son; Holmes now lives in South Carolina), and Holmes have finally decided to hold a wake today and tomorrow and the Upper East Side.