November 30, 2012

I was grateful to see The Post’s editorial addressing the failure of a family court in the tragic, unexplained death of a toddler in the unsupervised care of his father, after his mother had pleaded with the court not to lift the ongoing supervision of the father’s visits [“A baby left unprotected,” Nov. 27].

My organization attempted to assist this mother in regaining safety for her child during the final stage of the litigation, and we are horrified by this hideous outcome. Cases of this sort, some ending in children’s deaths and others “merely” resulting in ongoing child abuse, are troublingly common around the country.

Hera McLeod, the mother of the victim, rightfully attacks the court’s treatment of her as a “vengeful” woman, rather than as a mother who was genuinely and legitimately afraid for her child.

Family courts’ dismissing protective parents’ claims of abuse and danger to children is a little-known but widespread phenomenon. We hope that the growing public attention to these court travesties will jolt the judicial system and its ancillary professionals into protecting the children whose lives are placed in their hands.

Joan S. Meier, Washington

The writer is director of the Domestic Violence Legal and Appeals Project.