A seven-year-old boy who lived near Lansing, MI, was allegedly murdered by his adoptive parents last summer. When his parents reported him missing, the whole mid-Michigan community turned out to find him.
Then his adoptive dad took authorities to where he dumped Ricky Holland and the facts and questions started to dribble out in the media.
Two state lawmakers--Reps. David Law and Rick Baxter--have asked the Michigan Office of Childrens Ombudsman--to release the case files to help the Michigan Legislature sort through the life and death of this young boy and to research the state's involvement in his protection from abuse and neglect.
The Detroit News reports that the ombudsman, Ms. Verlie Ruffin, refuses to cooperate with the lawmakers. She is the last line of hope for kids who are suspected of being victims physically, emotionally and otherwise. The statute was changed and signed into law in early 2005 to toughen her office. She still refuses to cooperate with the Legislature to show the state's involvement in the life of Ricky.
However, there's one more law that was passed at the time of the toughening amendments to the ombudsman's law. It was introduced by Rep. Barb Vanderveen and requires that a child's files be opened after the child's death. Gov. Granholm signed it into law.
My guess is that the Michigan Department of Human Services will fight any attempt to implement the law.
The blogosphere needs to join hands in this effort to get Michigan to open up its system and its safety net for protecting its at-risk children.