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County Executive Romaine, District Attorney Tierney, Suffolk County Legislature Work Together to Change Social Services Laws in Wake of Valva Grand Jury Report Release

County Executive & District Attorney Appear before Legislature to ask for support in their effort to reform Albany’s policies

HAUPPAUGE, NY—Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine, District Attorney Ray Tierney and the members of the Suffolk County Legislature today agreed to send a letter to NYS Governor Kathy Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and NYS Attorney General Letitia James requesting the State Legislature reform the New York State Social Services Laws to enable investigators to have access to unfounded reports in Child Protective Services cases.

The request comes after a special grand jury report about the handling of the case of 8-year-old Thomas Valva, who in 2020 died. Thomas’s father and his father’s fiancée were sentenced to 25 years to life in the death of their son. 

The New York State Social Services Law prohibits certain “unfounded” information about ongoing CPS cases.

“We must do all we can to protect children who may be victims of abuse in this state,” said Romaine. “Every level of government must come together and affect change, and we are asking the state to address this issue in the name of Thomas and all other children who may be under the care of CPS across New York State.”

“I would like to thank our Suffolk County legislators for paying careful attention to the grand jury’s recommendations and acting on behalf of Suffolk County to begin the process of putting those recommendations into effect,” said Tierney. “We must protect our children by ensuring that they are properly safeguarded.”

“We are working together to urge you to incorporate the grand jury’s recommendations to dramatically change the trajectory of Child Protective Services for the better,” said Legislator Trish Bergin. “It is critical to guarantee the safety of all of our children and not allow another helpless child to perish when there are clear solutions to repair a broken system.”

Romaine and Tierney spoke before the Suffolk County Legislature at its monthly meeting on April 9.


Categories: County Executive


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