In the news this summer has been the story of the death of 13 year-old DeAndre Reeves, a disabled child who had been scalded to death in a bathtub in his home. His mother had left him home with his 14 year old brother to look after him while she went to work due to W-2 rules requiring recipients to work. W-2 rules, however do allow mothers who require home care to be exempt from W-2 work because she would have been eligible for the W-2 Transition category having "significant barriers" to employment.
Was DeAndre Reeves's mother informed of other options besides work? Are W-2 agencies failing to inform people of services that could prevent possible tragedies. The state has not passed provisions which would exempt mothers of disabled children from work and education requirements or provided child care for disabled children over the age of 12.
Is the Governor, the Legislature or W-2 agencies taking responsibility for the disabled in our community? Does Society have any sense of responsibility in caring for the disabled? DeAndre Reeves's 14 year-old brother and his mother were taking responsibility and will continue to live with their grief and their responsibility in their loss for the rest of their lives, because we as a society are failing utterly to take on our responsibilities. The elderly get handled with kid gloves because they have a political voice. The disabled continue to get pushed aside, out-of-site, out-of-conscience because they effectively have no political voice.
Fourteen-year old children continue to do the work and take the responsibility, we as a society are failing to do and take. Siblings are taking the responsibility for what parents cannot do.
Is the Governor's effort for getting people back to work, really considering that the support and assistance needed is simply not there? Is not this situation exactly the need W-2 was intended to serve: our obligation as a society to assist those in need to prevent crisis or death?
"Sibling Point of View"
Resources used: "News and Commentary: Leaders Decry Another W-2 Related Child Death" by Scott Sloan, Shepherd Express, June 25, 1998.
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