Families voice concerns about child abuse and CPS at forum

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A public forum was held on Saturday about protecting children from abuse and neglect.

Kevin Retzer and his wife Christine are one of many families that have seen the damage violence and abuse can do to a child. Their great nephew “Jay J”Bolvin was severely beaten by his father Jeremy. As an infant he had eleven broken bones and still suffers from complications.

“He had suffered permanent brain damage from being shaken so violently. He was having seizures up to 200 a day,” said Retzer, Jay J’s great uncle.

Retzer said Jay J is 4-years-old now and doing much better. However they recently got some tough news. They learned Jay J’s father, who was sentenced to serve up to four years behind bars in 2011, will be released soon.

“His father is going to be released on Monday after serving a little more than two and a half years for good behavior. My nephew has a life sentence. He does not get off for good behavior,” said Retzer, Jay J’s great aunt.

The Retzer’s shared their story on Saturday at a public forum held by Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblywoman Chrystal Peoples-Stokes.

One by one people explained how they’ve been affected by Child Protective Services and what they’d like to see it improved.

Both lawmakers plan to use the information from the meeting to help shape future legislation for reform.

“We’re taking proactive steps with our legislation in order to make the system set up to protect our children better and safer for those children and make it more efficient and effective,” said State Senator Tim Kennedy (D).

“Hopefully the revisions, amendments and/or new legislation that we create here will be helpful across the state to make it better for the children,” said Assemblywoman Chrystal Peoples-Stokes (D).

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