The death of yet another apparently malnourished child who ultimately succumbed to abuse has Philadelphians once again asking how these tragedies can be avoided.
For all the improvements made within the city’s Department of Human Resources since 14-year-old Danieal Kelly starved to death six years ago, there are still children who end up dead. The latest is Khalil Wimes, 6, who died last week of blunt-force trauma to the head. He weighed only 29 pounds. Medical examiners said he had suffered tremendously before being taken, unconscious, sunken, and sallow, to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The child’s parents, Tina Cuffie, 44, and Latiff Hadi, 48, have been charged with murder. The mother said Khalil had slipped in the bathroom, but she could not explain the scars on his arms, face, back, and neck. How do such people retain custody of a child?
Cuffie, previously convicted of welfare fraud, had five older children removed from her care. Both parents reportedly had drug addictions. Yet Khalil and his 3-year-old sister, Maya, stayed in the home. More astonishing is that Khalil was thriving with other family members until age 2, when a judge gave him back to his mother.