It was one year ago yesterday that 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown, previously starved and beaten, was murdered in Bed-Stuy - her stepfather and mother are currently charged with her death. On this grim anniversary, city officials and child advocates implored the government to increase resources in keeping with an increase in child abuse reports over the past year. Specifically, officials are requesting an increase in the number of Family Court judges and maintaining a healthy budget for protective programs. The NYC Family Court says that the number of neglect reports increased 163% last year while the number of reports of abuse went up by 63%. Although its important to remember that this is an increase in the number of cases reported and not necessarily an increase in the absolute number of cases. The number of judges, on the other hand, has held steady at 41 since 1991 leading to long wait lists for hearings, some lasting up to a month.
The little girl's death has been a particular impetus for the Administration of Child Services (ACS) to get its act together because it had been actively investigating her family at the time she was killed but failed to act in time. City Councilman Bill de Blasio said that, "the ACS and other had an opportunity to save that girl." The lack of judges coupled with a 23% ACS attorney attrition rate have seriously crippled the city's ability to cope with new cases in a timely manner as they arise.
Suspected abuse cases can be reported by calling the general City hot line at 311.