One of the local news stories here in Albuquerque that has received much attention is a heart-breaking story. Little Omaree Varela, 9-years old, died due to a kick from his mother, Synthia Varela-Casaus. Upon Synthia’s arrest, her explanation is one that boils my blood every time I see and hear that specific section in the local news:
“I kicked him the wrong way. It was an accident.”
Well, Synthia. Pray tell…. What IS the RIGHT way to kick a child then? Please let us know so no one else accidentally kicks their child to death.
Watch the video, which starts at the 0:30 mark. Her comment is at 0:48.
Sadly, Omaree’s mother had been on the CYFD’s (Children, Youth and Family Dept.) radar for four years now, but little to nothing was done due to being overworked and under paid. Several times the police have been called to the Varela-Casaus residence, but nothing came out of those visits either. In response to this needless death, Omaree’s Law was written, but eventually turned down by the State Senate.
Omaree’s Law would require the CYFD to immediately take a child out of a home if it gets a report there are signs of abuse — for example burns, bruises and bites. There would be a hearing within 48 hours to determine if it’s safe for the child to go back home.
Lawmakers worried Omaree’s Law would overwhelm CYFD’s resources. Legislative analysts predicted the agency would need an additional 4,000 employees to keep up with the law. I think that estimate is a crock of shit. Albuquerque is not large enough to need a staff of 4,000 in any of the social services. In 2003, there were a total of 6,940 city employees – all city departments. And there are only 11 employers in the entire state with 4,000+ employees. (source)
The thought of this denial sickens me as I can only imagine what happened prior to the state senate’s vote. I’m sure the CYFD had a voice about this bill, which they should since it directly affects them. Although I have not heard, common sense says that the CYFD didn’t support it. They’d rather a child that has visible bruises, burns and bites to remain in their abusive home. Honestly, I would open my door for 48-hours to a child suspected of being abused. I’m confident there are many other homes that would do the same thing. Not foster a child, but be there to care for the child for the 48-hour wait period.
Personally, what this all boils down to is a gross underfunding of our government agencies due to all the cutbacks the Republican Party continually demands.
If you want to catch up on the details and news of this story, here are a variety of links.
- KOB4: ABQ mother admits to kicking son who later died
- KOAT7: Slain 9-year-old Omaree Varela called 911 for help months before death (full audio)
- KOAT7: Third abuse claim surfaces in Omaree Varela case
- KOAT7: Proposed Omaree’s Law heads to NM Senate
- KOB4: State Senate committee fails to pass Omaree’s Law
- DailyMail: Police ‘did nothing after 911 call recorded abuse of boy, 9, who died six months later at the hands of his mother’
- KOAT7: Youtube account videos, search result with filter “Omaree”
Extended Cut: Omaree Varela 911 Call
Full Lapel Video: Officers visit Omaree’s home after 911 call