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May 14, 2009
Commentary contributed by Dot Buck · Pukalani

A few weeks ago, there was a viewpoint in The Maui News about a small child who had been killed on Maui because of domestic abuse. In Jill Engledow’s column, she stated that numerous agencies, including Maui family support systems could have saved this child. The problems seem to arise when the community gives its responsibility away to agencies or just turns the other cheek.

I have worked for several agencies and been on both sides of the services of these agencies, and it’s important to know that the first line of defense is the neighbors and community. It is important to give the community the responsibility to step up to the plate. Being a retired substance abuse councilor, an agency is only one part of the solution.

Many agencies have supervisors who are childless, who have not been in the situation that they manage, and not familiar with the problem except by way of education. I truly believe that it is important for the community to take the initiative and respond to cases such as the one mentioned. Ultimately, it was a neighbor who called the authorities; although not in time.

Professionals who are in charge of childcare really need to have some personal experience themselves. And substance abuse workers, in my opinion, need to have personal knowledge of the problems as well; otherwise, it’s like a pain management councilor who has never had pain teaching the class.

I have listened to the current woes of budgets cut, and maybe it’s the time for people to be more self-managing about the issues and problems in our county.

Just a thought to prevent other tragedies. No one agency or professional can cover all the bases.



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