Suffolk CPS Commissioner Says Changes Are Coming After Thomas Valva’s Death

Sophia Hall
February 04, 2020 - 3:18 pm
Thomas Valva

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Suffolk County Legislators heard from the commissioner and others from the Department of Social Services Tuesday, as they try to make changes following the death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, new procedures are coming after it was revealed that multiple calls had been made to Child Protective Services regarding the abuse 8-year-old Thomas was undergoing.

A report from the New York Post showed at least 17 calls were made the state abuse hotline about the boy in the months before he died of hypothermia after his father, Michael Valva, forced him to sleep in a freezing garage overnight.

While questions remain as to how Thomas and his two brothers were allowed to stay in their father’s Centre Moriches home, Social Services Commissioner Frances Pierre says that, from now on, if more than four complaints are made regarding a specific child, the case will be looked at with intense scrutiny.

She says that, even if the case has been found unfounded, if multiple calls are made, as of January 21st, a supervisor will look into the situation once more.

“We’re doing this in foster care,” Pierre notes.

Legislator Kara Hahn was in tears as she spoke about her concerns that those in law enforcement, like former MTA police officer Valva, get special treatment from CPS.

“I keep hearing the common thread that they're believed over others,” she said.

Commissioner Pierre’s response was: “We're definitely working on our department as far as staff, training on a regular basis just to ensure that you can't judge a book on its cover.”