May 24th marked the second year anniversary of Gabriel Fernandez’s death, and still no sentence has been handed down to his killers.
However, in the past two years since his death we recently had a rehire of one the supervisors from the DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) in Palmdale, who was a supervisor in his case. Mr. Gregory Merritt was rehired as a social worker to overlook cases of child abuse. I don’t get how someone like him, who was supposed to be good at his job, let the caseworker close the case and caused Gabriel to live in a home of abuse and be murdered.
Gabriel’s Justice of Facebook had contacted the Board of Supervisors to be put on the agenda to discuss the rehire of Gregory Merritt and protest this action. To this day we have not heard back. One month has passed since this request. We as voters put these broken promises on the “suits” due to their campaigns saying they will fight to protect children and they fail.
The second most disturbing thing that’s happened on Gabriel’s second anniversary is the legislators in Sacramento tried to sneak in a vote to put into law to seal the documents that the DCFS has, and make them impossible for the media and public to gain or see. It’s sneaky and undermines the citizens.
They want to seal files that have been documented in child abuse cases and deaths of kids. May it be at the hands of strangers, loved ones, foster care, etc., they want to cover up these wrongful deaths that the social workers should of been aware of.
The DCFS claims their innocence in any wrongdoing, and say they are hard at work trying to save the lives of children. If this is true, why the coverup? Why try to get documents sealed from the media and public? If your files are in compliance and truthful, no lies have been documented, and you’re really trying to save children, why would you need a law to seal these records.
Children’s lives are at risk by their abusers, and all the DCFS is concerned about is sealing records and protecting themselves. Their reputation has been tarnished already, and trying to cover up their mistakes only shows how guilty they are of negligence of saving children.
I may not have a degree to be a social worker, but I for sure have common sense — that if I was a worker and I was assigned to a potential child abuse case, I would question the child first without the presence of the accused abuser. I would question how the child got a black eye, busted lip etc. I would not rely on the answers of the accuser. I would have made a request for a medical checkup and X-rays.
Not all social workers are the same. I believe there are many with compassion for their jobs and children, and hit a wall when trying to do the right thing — that “wall” being the supervisors and higher-ups.
More changes need to come quickly. Children’s lives matter. No child deserves to die; they deserve to live for they are our future.
We need more people to get involved and help make these changes, and join us in the fight for justice of children all over.
Emily Carranza is a cousin of Gabriel Fernandez