Connecticut's Office of the Child Advocate has issued a report on the February death of 17 year-old Matthew Tirado of Hartford. The autistic teenager died from malnutrition, weighing only 84 pounds at his death.
Police charged Matthew's mother with manslaughter and cruelty. The OCA investigation concluded that the teenager's death was preventable, and that the multiple systems that were aware of Tirado's disability and possible abuse ultimately failed him, including Hartford Public Schools.
For example Tirado's mother pulled him out of school for two years, telling officials she was moving.
Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Connecticut Child Advocate Sarah Eagan said the school system should have checked on the welfare of the disabled child.
"What we ask the district is -- well did you ever receive a request for records from any other school district? No we didn't. -- And so there is this gap in our system where somebody says someone who has been the subject of multiple reports for not sending kids to school, for maybe harming kids can say 'well. I'm gonna go. I'm gonna move somewhere else,' and then somehow that child disappears for years."
Eagan said the various state agencies that served Matthew need to "improve their knowledge, competence and capacity to protect and serve" children with complex and developmental disabilities.