The tragic story of Angelo Mendoza has our attention. The horrific way he was maimed sends shudders down our spines. The most demented horror movie could not capture the depravity of such an act by a father.

Given that Angelo's parents had in the past pleaded no contest to child endangerment charges, it seems fair to question whether local child protective authorities missed any warning signs that may have made a difference.

Kern County Child Protective Services was involved in Angelo's life at some point, given his parent's criminal acts. This outrageous case of child abuse deserved a great deal of scrutiny. The fact that little Angelo's mom had an arrest warrant for failing to complete a drug treatment program could have been a warning sign that was missed. Only through an honest assessment by outside experts will we be able to know whether everything that could have been in place by Kern County CPS to protect Angelo did in fact occur.

Kern County supervisors need to look deep in their hearts and not be fearful of instituting such a review.

I think we all know that CPS carries a great burden within our community. And while "getting some dollars for CPS," as a previous letter writer suggested, makes sense, we must first understand what failures, if any, may have occurred in Angelo's case. Otherwise we may be simply spending money on a dysfunctional system that won't produce the results people are expecting.


State Senator, 16th District