A basic tenet of suicide prevention is that when a child threatens suicide, that child must be protected and closely monitored. Also, a child interviewed in the presence of his abusers, even if they are a room away, is unlikely to respond in ways that demonstrate the risk he faces once the interviewers leave.
Had the department enabled a working communication system, or had the adults involved moved to safeguard Jorge's state, he would be alive today.
Wendy B. Smith
The writer is an adjunct professor at USC's School of Social Work.
Wait a minute! It's not the "agency's woes" that matter in this horrifying report; it's that another child is dead.
I can't fathom how "school officials and mental health workers thought Jorge was well enough to go home." This poor child did everything he could to get help. He reached the end of his rope, so he hung himself with it, because no one cared enough. All you agencies, school officials and family members are responsible for Jorge's death. May he finally rest in peace.
T.S. Eliot wrote of "dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good."
When the number of irresponsible parents reaches a critical mass, no amount of social workers, teachers or other public servants, no matter how excellent, can fix everything.
Wendell H. Jones
Re "For a Haitian double amputee, life-changing aid now beckons," July 25
I was horrified to read of the suicide of an 11-year-old boy who saw nothing but despair and pain ahead of him and decided to opt out of his miserable future. The blame lies in many places, but I believe in going to the top — to our county supervisors and to the administrators of our miserably run child welfare system, which pays millions for equipment that is useless to the social workers.
Then I read of 19-year-old Sounlove Zamor, who lost both legs in the earthquake in Haiti and will soon go to Israel to be fitted for prosthetics, at no cost. What a lift!
It is especially joyful to me to see my favorite other country come to the aid of this young lady. The humanity here was heartwarming. I am glad I read this second. It helped me get on with my day.