Last Wednesday I went to Children's Services "PANI" to present Metro Ministries and find out information about little Estella. If she was going to be removed from her mother's care, I wanted PANI to know that we had a relationship with the child so that we could at least be notified as to what state home she would be placed in. We talked with a sweet old woman who obviously cared about kids. When I told her what we did, and specifically what neighborhood, she asked if we would be willing to help with cases in the surrounding neighborhoods. She offered us AIDS babies, teen runaways, pregnant teens... all from different neighborhoods close to LC, the neighborhood we work in. "I'm so sorry," I told her, "but in this sector, the only neighborhood we are able to work in and support you in, is with the kids living in LC." I then mentioned Estella's situation- not giving names or personal details, just telling the story. I was so saddened by this woman's response, "How old is she? 12? Yes, she is old enough to start sticking up for herself. Until this girl learns how to tell the truth and tell the authorities what is going on in her home, there is nothing we will ever be able to do for her."
This is the government in charge of protecting children; who will only protect those who stand up for themselves. I know several girls who are in Estella's situation... they are being abused at home, but will not "rat out" their moms, uncles, aunts, etc. And according to PANI, since these girls are unwilling to "help themselves" there is no help, no way out of their current situation. Estella remains in her home, the situation has not changed.