Joining together of LACASA & Family Resource Center a good sign for county’s kids

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There’s no end, it seems, to the child abuse horror stories.

The latest in Livingston County has a woman accused in the alleged beating of her 3-year-old step-grandchild from head to toe.

One of the most notorious and horrific in recent years was the case of 4-year-old Dominick Calhoun, who died nearly two years ago, beaten to death over several days because he wet himself while sitting on a couch. His mother’s boyfriend, Brandon Hayes, was recently found guilty of first-degree murder and torture in his death. His mother, Corrinne Baker, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and testified against Hayes.

It was a vicious and heart-wrenching end to what appears to have been a short and chaotic life. My heart still holds that little boy deep inside.

Then there are stories of child abuse from coast to coast by non-family members, ranging from the horrendous Penn State allegations of sexual assault by a football coach, to the recent closing of a Los Angeles elementary school after two staffers were accused of abusing students there.

Just when you think there can’t possibly be a story more horrific than the last, another one comes along.

That’s why the recent merging of the Family Resource Center into LACASA is such a big story. The new, bigger and stronger organization the merger creates is wonderful for families and kids.

Some laud the merger as a big deal because it consolidates two non-profits that covered similar ground. Advantage Livingston, the community effort to carve out a plan for this county’s future economic viability, advocates for consolidating services whenever possible; it’s credited by some with sparking consolidation talks between the two non-profits.

Both organizations made it their mission to protect children from abuse and neglect, so their marriage of sorts stands as a beacon of hope. Frankly, I like to think of it as two superheroes joining forces for the good of children and humanity.

I am a long-time LACASA board member, and I believe deeply that being safe in one’s home is a basic human right. Home should be a haven, a soft spot to land when the going gets tough, a supportive place to learn and grow, certainly not a den of horror.

Little Dominick Calhoun, failed by a dysfunctional family and imperfect community checks and balances, never really had a chance, it seems. But lots of kids and families get the support and help they need because of organizations like LACASA and the Family Resource Center.

The work to educate the community, support families and advocate for victims of violence is never easy; oftentimes, it’s downright depressing and maddening and frustrating. But it’s important work that must be done.

The merging of the Family Resource Center into LACASA is a wonderful thing for this community, for lots of different reasons, but especially so because it creates a larger and even-stronger agency to work on behalf of our smallest and most vulnerable members.

About Maria Stuart 211 Articles

Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse. You can check out her website by clicking here.