Last week eight-month-old Elijah Rodriguez died at a city shelter, allegedly at the hands of his father. We are awaiting more information and details on this case but, tragically, child fatalities in the city shelter system are a reoccurring problem. We must do more to improve coordination between ACS and DHS and to keep children safe in city shelters.
Between 2004-2006, 20 children have died in the shelter system. Since my office released a report last year on child fatalities in the city’s homeless shelter system, at least eight more children have died. My report included important recommendations for both ACS and DHS to strengthen their practices and improve their protection of children in the shelter system. We must have increased prevention measures to protect the lives of these at-risk children.
After the death of Colesvinton Florestal in the shelter system four years ago, I introduced and the City Council passed legislation requiring shelters to post signs reminding shelters of the importance of reporting child abuse.
NYC Public Advocate