Don't let more kids suffer abuse or death, shake up agency in Huron County

Date: 2007-03-22

That's lunacy.

Efaw fatally stabbed the 11-year-old girl during an altercation about a year after she was put in his care.

Further, the girl had been put in Efaw's home despite Dumbeck's department knowing of, but not thoroughly investigating, allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse by Efaw involving his own own children and stepchildren.

Dumbeck also testified that his social workers are not required to look at their agency's files, law enforcement reports, civil court or employer files on people before approving foster homes.

How could that be? Dumbeck's agency and the state are responsible for the welfare of the children placed in their care. How can allegations like those against Efaw not be investigated before a child is placed in his care; a child he later killed?

Efaw is currently serving a mere three-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter after being convicted in Connre Dixon's death. Her estate is suing the county for wrongful death, and that trial heard Dumbeck's testimony this week.

If Dumbeck still considers Connre Dixon's placement in Efaw's home a success, could the public expect to see Efaw get another foster child after he is released from prison? What a chilling possibility. Let's not wait to find out.

After all, Dumbeck and his agency left several "caged kids" in the home of Michael and Sharen Gravelle for two years before taking action, then he proclaimed that his staff had "handled the case superbly."

How much more disturbing "superb" work and how many more deadly "successful" foster placements like these will Dumbeck's operation yield if nothing changes?

Are Gov. Ted Strickland, or his ODJFS Director Helen Jones-Kelley or 13th District State Sen. Sue Morano, or 58th District State Rep. Matt Barrett willing to wait and find out?

It's time for them to step in and shake things up hard at the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services so that no more children will suffer abuse or violent death.

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