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As news stories show, being a child in Oklahoma can be difficult

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: December 4, 2011

Other stories published that day: A woman sentenced to prison for keeping her 5-year-old daughter in a closet and a grandfather accused of causing his 2-year-old grandson's death. At 19 pounds, the 5-year-old girl weighed less when a social worker discovered her than she did as a toddler and showed signs of physical abuse. In the other case, the grandfather is accused of injuring his grandson after the boy vomited in bed.

We could go on, but the reality is all too clear: The number of Oklahoma kids in harm's way is too high. Truth is we already knew it. Statistics on annual child welfare reports bear that out. But the children's lives detailed in our news pages on a regular basis aren't just statistics. They are real children whose lives were cut short or forever changed because those charged with protecting them didn't.

These stories don't have happy endings. Plenty of Oklahoma's children do, but what of those who don't? Their lives shouldn't be this hard.

There's no easy fix. But neither should any of us just pass these articles by with a sigh as another tragedy that happened to someone else and must be endured.

We have said before that Oklahoma — its people and its policymakers — has no more important work than protecting our children. That message can't be shared too often.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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