ISSUES MUST BE FACED IN CARROLL CASE

Date: 1992-12-13
Source: newsbank.com

ISSUES MUST BE FACED IN CARROLL CASE

INVESTIGATION OF CHILDREN'S DEATHS ADDS TO GRIEF, NO DOUBT

December 13, 1992
Dayton Daily News
       
Greene County authorities have had little choice but to look into the case of adoptive parents Kathleen and Timothy Carroll and to try to protect the remaining children.

Perhaps the Carrolls, whose motives seem so compassionate, have done nothing wrong. But when four children die in three months - two of them under circumstances that raise questions - something has to happen. If the authorities did nothing and another death were to occur, the authorities would have great difficulty explaining themselves. The Carrolls, who live on various benefits, have adopted nine children, all but one being mentally or physically handicapped. Five children survive. One died in bed last week. Another died after a chlorine-bleach accident last fall. Two others died in between, but under circumstances that apparently raise no questions.

So now the Greene County prosecutor is looking into the situation. The Children Services Board has moved the other children.

People are debating whether one family should have been given so many hard-to-handle children.

To allow handicapped and ill children to live in a family environment - that is, outside of an institution - ought to be a high priority for society. Yet, finding qualified families who will adopt and love the most hard-to-handle children - children who are often given up by their own parents - can't be easy.

Still, it must also be recognized that the ability of parents to handle these challenges may change over time, as they tire.

Questions exist about whether the Carrolls took the proper action after the bleach accident, and whether they paid enough attention to the child who died in bed.

It must be terribly difficult for the couple to face these questions even as they are dealing with their grief. Parents inevitably feel guilt when a child dies at home. When others are suggesting that maybe they should feel some guilt, the parents must approach a level of emotional pain that's hard to bear.

Unfortunately, however, the questions at least have to be asked.

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