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Editorial: Save the children

April 19, 2008

Can we agree that saving the life of an abused child is at least as important as catching insurance fraud? No, we can't.

Because Assembly Democrats are dragging their feet on letting investigators run criminal-history checks on suspected abusers.

This basic tool is available to officials who go after insurance ripoffs and Medicaid fraud, and to cops, prosecutors and probation officers.

But not to investigators at the Administration for Children's Services - the agency charged with shielding kids from beatings and worse at the hands of adults.

If Johnny shows up at school covered in welts, and his mother's new boyfriend was once arrested for assault, ACS needs to know that.

But, as things stand, ACS investigators must go through the NYPD to obtain a full criminal history, a time-consuming and unnecessary hassle.

Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner John Mattingly have begged lawmakers to close this gap. The Senate unanimously said yes. But the measure died in the Assembly last year.

Some members cared more about the privacy of potentially dangerous adults than the safety of children.

Assembly Children and Families Chairman William Scarborough says he hopes to move an amended bill through his committee soon. He must. The children shouldn't have to wait.

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