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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

System's failures leave a child dead

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Another Missouri case of child abuse that resulted in death has made the headlines. A Farmington woman was charged with the child's death this week after police said she kicked the 8-month-old girl in the head. But Rebecca Gail Siliven, who is charged with the murder, had a prior child abuse conviction that prohibited her from having contact with children. So how was it that she was babysitting the child?

Siliven had a 2003 child abuse charge that resulted in the ban which limited her contact with children. But she allowed a friend and her child to temporarily move in with her. While watching the child this week, Siliven allegedly kicked the child in the head. The child died the following day

The Department of Social Services said what all bureaucrats say: "A comprehensive investigation is under way." But the monitoring by the state is not entirely to blame.

The simple fact is that state officials cannot monitor every case in which a person is banned from being around children. Common sense says that's not really possible. Siliven had also been ordered from the first case to attend counseling and parenting classes. That solution obviously failed as well. The dead child's father had filed several complaints with Social Services trying to remove the child from her mother, who was staying with Siliven. The state is currently reviewing its actions in the case. But that seems like too little, too late.

I guess the bottom line is this - evil will remain despite the best attempts of society to address it. The killer may have been prohibited from contact with children but how are we to fully enforce such a ban? We cannot monitor their every action at every minute of the day. We can know their whereabouts but that does not assure the person will follow the letter of the law.

A child is dead. New laws may be enacted. But it's doubtful that some things will change.

Our only answer to this tragedy is to put Rebecca Gail Siliven in prison for the remainder of her life and to pray that a similar event will not occur. But in the meantime, a child is dead.



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