CPS fires two employees over boy’s death

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The family of 5-year-old Eain Brooks, who was allegedly murdered by his mother’s boyfriend, says Erie County Child Protective Services (CPS) could have done more to protect their little boy. Now two caseworkers have been fired and their supervisors are suspended without pay.

Brook’s grandmother, Robin Hart, says she called CPS at least 10 times in a two-month period to tell caseworkers that Matthew Kuzdzal was abusing Eain, but nothing was done.

“I asked them what was it going to take, for my grandson to die before anybody did anything? You know what, I’m here today, my grandson’s gone and it’s…he should be alive! Nobody would listen to me,” she cried.

Police say Kuzdzal beat Eain to death last month.

Wednesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that after a comprehensive internal audit of CPS, two caseworkers were fired and their supervisors were suspended without pay.

Eain’s great uncle, Paul Henry, says he believed someone would be disciplined, but not amount of punishment is enough.

“You can take out the whole department if you want and put a whole new department in but if the process is still the same it’s going to fail,” he argued.

Henry says he would like to see is a new confirmation process so that when someone calls with a complaint, they get a confirmation or number.

He explained, “This way at any time you or me can call in with a case number, confirmation number and know what’s happening. And this way it doesn’t slip between the cracks.”

State Senator Tim Kennedy called on the state to launch an investigation into what took place leading up to Eain’s death and to see if the county did everything they could to protect him. He says it’s about time some changes were made at CPS.

“The death of Eain Brooks seems to be directly attributed to Child Protective Services not doing their job,” Sen. Kennedy said. “And the fact that there are individuals that are being disciplined because of the death of Eain Brooks is a good start.”

CSEA President Denise Szymura released a statement regarding the firing of union employees saying the blame should not be placed fully on their shoulders.

“His tragic death may have been prevented if staffing levels in the Child Protective Services Department had not been cut to the current levels. Former County Executive Chris Collins cut away at the Department of Social Services, and his commissioner assisted in dismantling the department. Now, the front-line workers are left taking the blame,” she stated.

A spokesman for Collins released the following statement in response to this story, “Congressman Collins thoughts and prayers are with the family who has suffered such a horrible tragedy because of the failures of CPS. The decision to terminate was correct, and he applauds the Poloncarz Administration for taking decisive action.”

The Erie County Legislature recently approved a measure to have more caseworkers and team leaders added to the Department of Social Services to help pare down the caseload for caseworkers.

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