MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was a heated hearing on Long Island as Child Protective Services came under fire Wednesday night. Officials are now reviewing procedures after the death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva.

“You’re letting out criminals into our streets,” one woman yelled.

There was constant interruption throughout a meeting with Nassau County legislators, who gathered to be proactive in finding out the needs of Child Protective Services, rather than reactive, given what happened in neighboring Suffolk County in the case of Thomas Valva.

“We’re asking you to please follow the protocol of the meeting,” one official said.

The 8-year-old died under the care of his father, Michael Valva, an NYPD officer who now stands accused of murder and abuse.

Thomas died in January after being left in a cold garage, allegedly as punishment at his father’s Center Moriches home.

THOMAS VALVA CASE: CBS2 Investigates How The 8-Year-Old’s Mother Lost Custody In Court

Thomas Valva, 8, died of hypothermia after being forced to sleep in an unheated garage at his father’s house in Center Moriches. (Photo via CBS2)

His mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, lives in Nassau County and attended the meeting, delivering her heart-wrenching testimony of trying to fight for her children in the face of what she calls corruption.

She says CPS in Suffolk County dropped the ball in Thomas’ case and has accused several family and divorce court judges of misconduct, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reports.

“All this connections, corruption, influence, caused Tommy to die,” Zubko-Valva said.

Nassau County CPS presented its current staffing numbers during the meeting. State recommendations are that each caseworker have an average of 12-15 cases, but in Nassau County, that number is sometimes much higher.

“Someone that has a caseload of 30 is a lot different than, you know, that’s almost double the amount of what somebody else might have,” Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker said.

“With our caseload, there’s, without a doubt, some folks have larger caseloads than others,” Nassau County Department Of Social Services Commissioner Nancy Nunziata said.

THOMAS VALVA CASE: Suffolk County Social Services Commissioner Makes First Public Comments Since Boy’s Death

But many say an overload of cases is just the beginning of a systemic problem.

“Just because somebody is a judge or a prosecutor or holds this powerful position in the government, it doesn’t mean that somebody is above the law because we have to protect our children who cannot speak for themselves,” Zubko-Valva said.

In this case, Thomas Valva still has a voice even though he’s no longer here.

Comments
  1. AFCCWatch says:

    It has nothing to do with caseload. The social workers are trained by “experts” associated with an organization called the AFCC to disregard abuse in custody cases. Judge Zimmerman was a panelist in an AFCC seminar titled “Kids Come First: It’s That Simple”, but delve deeper into the materials and you’re see a lot of muddying of the waters and equivocating on abuse. It is corruption. Dismissing abuse prolongs the conflict for the benefit of everyone involved, but there’s also favoritism, misogyny and sadism involved. The AFCC is a criminal cartel. There’s no reason for judges, attorneys, social workers and expert witnesses to all be rubbing elbows.

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