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Enough is Enough! We Must Protect Kids Now

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When will our country invest the appropriate funding to protect our children?

Robert Manwill

Dr. Michelle Golland: We should all be disgusted with our nation's lack of funding for the basic care and safety of our most precious and vulnerable natural resource: our children. When I read that the family of 8-year-old Robert Manwill, the boy whose body was just found floating in a canal near his mother's home, has open cases of child abuse, I was outraged. I can only imagine the anger of his father, who had to deliver Robert to his mother for court-ordered visitation the day he went missing. We do not know if his mother, Melissa Scott Jenkins, or her boyfriend, Daniel Ehrlick Jr., were involved in the death of Robert, but we certainly know this mother and her boyfriend were not healthy, functional, or capable adults.

On Friday, Idaho police said they feared Robert might have been the "victim of a tragic event." The police also said that evidence was uncovered from the mother's home that points to suspicious circumstances, and they feared Robert may be injured. This was, of course, before his body was found yesterday. Whether or not his mother and her boyfriend were involved in his tragic death, Robert should not have been in a home where both parents already had multiple child abuse allegations against them.

In 2008, Robert's mother pleaded guilty to willfully fracturing the skull of her infant son, Robert's step-brother, by striking his head on "a surface." Before that incident, the infant boy was either in state custody or in his father's care, and Jenkins had visitation rights. Jenkins's boyfriend is not allowed in the presence of his sister by court order as well.

Enough is enough! How as a society do we allow a child to go back into such an obviously dangerous situation? Who is to blame? Is it the judge, the Department of Children and Family Services, or the family? Is it our country that doesn't adequately fund a completely overwhelmed system? Our children have no voice and no power. They don't make the money and they don't make the decisions, so it is up to all of us to stand up to these unjust and tragic situations.

Under any child custody system, Melissa Scott Jenkins should have had at most some sort of supervised visitation -- if that at all. She has clearly proven herself to be a serious danger to children in her care. Only time and good police work will determine what really happened to Robert, but either way, we as a society must better protect our children.


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38 comments so far | Post a comment now
nicole August 6, 2009, 3:22 PM

everyone is to share the blame. you’re right he should’ve gone back, but the state’s goal is to have children back in the home with their parents.

limaris August 6, 2009, 10:31 PM

I agree with that comment. but if the child is in a home where the parents hit them and their not mentally capable of taking care of their child. the child should not be in a home by himself maybe with a counselor or someone who works in dcfs but not alone thats how come so many ignocent kids get abuse emotional and physical or get killed. Look at the news this year alone how many kids got killed because their parents werent mentally capable of taking care of their child. its sad and WE have to do something.

Jackie August 7, 2009, 12:36 AM

I think we as a society have to be very careful saying that people who abuse or kill their children are not mentally capable of taking care of their kids. That’s not true at all. They are capable, these people are mean as hell. The real issue here is meanness of spirit. People who mistreat children as are evil. Next we are going to tell people based on their IQ they cannot have children. I noticed that the woman who wrote this article is a blonde, and generally speaking, natural blondes are not as smart as the rest of the population. Maybe we can prove they are not capable of being fit parents because of hair color. How silly does that sound?

Renee August 7, 2009, 12:18 PM

I don’t agree with some of the comments. How can a parent who abuse or kill their child be capable of taking care of their kids?? Obviously by their actions why are NOT CAPABLE. Mean or not mean. Being ‘mean’ is not an excuse for abusing your child. That is a huge sign that the parent is uncapable of taking care of their child. And actually Jackie I think it would be a GREAT idea to test IQ if you want to be a parent. It might actually save a couple kids who would otherwise be born into nothing.

Crystal August 11, 2009, 2:13 PM

This actually sickens me! How could someone let that child be with those people unsupervised?????? My son was abused at the age of 12 months by his Father, and he lost all visitations, ( thank God!) even as my son grows older, I would never let him be alone with his Father, there’s not only physical abuse, there’s verbal, and physcological! I also agree that you should have to take a test of some sort, you have to prove that you are capable of taking care of an animal before you can adopt one, you have to be financially responsible and have references, but any body can just give birth! we’re so worried about abused and homeless animals, WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?????????

BRANDY BIRKLAND August 22, 2009, 3:01 AM

I AM ABSOLUTLEY FUROUS!!!! THIS IS RIDICULOUS! THIS POOR LITTLE BOY DIDNT STAND A CHANCE. AS A MOTHER YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN AND NUTURE THEM AND FOR THIS WOMAN/MONSTER TO ALLOW A MAN TO TORTURE AND BEAT HER SON PHYSICALLY SHE DESERVES THE DEATH PENALTY ALONG WITH HIM! HOW DARE THEY FEEL THEY HAVE ANY RIGHTS AFTER SUCH A UNHUMAN ACT!!!!! I REALLY HOPE THE DEPT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ARE HAPPY THAT ONE MORE CHILD IN AMERICA HAS BEEN KILLED DUE TO POOR JUDGEMENT OF ALLOWING THIS MOTHER VISITATION!!!!COME AMERICA LETS START TIGHTENING UP ON THE LAWS WHEN IT COMES TO THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDRENS WELL BEING! THIS REALLY DOES MAKE ME CRY TO THINK OF THE TORTURE THIS LITTLE BOY WENT THROUGH AND WE PROBABLY CANT EVEN FATHEM HALF OF IT. IM APPAULED IDAHO LETS GET IT TOGETHER!!!!!!

BRANDY BIRKLAND August 22, 2009, 3:03 AM

I AM ABSOLUTLEY FUROUS!!!! THIS IS RIDICULOUS! THIS POOR LITTLE BOY DIDNT STAND A CHANCE. AS A MOTHER YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN AND NUTURE THEM AND FOR THIS WOMAN/MONSTER TO ALLOW A MAN TO TORTURE AND BEAT HER SON PHYSICALLY SHE DESERVES THE DEATH PENALTY ALONG WITH HIM! HOW DARE THEY FEEL THEY HAVE ANY RIGHTS AFTER SUCH A UNHUMAN ACT!!!!! I REALLY HOPE THE DEPT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ARE HAPPY THAT ONE MORE CHILD IN AMERICA HAS BEEN KILLED DUE TO POOR JUDGEMENT OF ALLOWING THIS MOTHER VISITATION!!!!COME AMERICA LETS START TIGHTENING UP ON THE LAWS WHEN IT COMES TO THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDRENS WELL BEING! THIS REALLY DOES MAKE ME CRY TO THINK OF THE TORTURE THIS LITTLE BOY WENT THROUGH AND WE PROBABLY CANT EVEN FATHEM HALF OF IT. IM APPAULED IDAHO LETS GET IT TOGETHER!!!!!!

sandy August 24, 2009, 3:51 PM

I have to wonder why someone didn’t notice that this little boy was being abused since June. Was everyone around this little angel blind?????????/

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