Ex-NYPD Officer Michael Valva appears in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead in...

Ex-NYPD Officer Michael Valva appears in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead in September 2022, before the start of his trial in his son Michael's murder. Credit: James Carbone

Hold family judges accountable

I agree with Jacqueline Franchetti about systemic failures within New York Family Court [“Thomas Valva will never receive ‘justice,’  ” Opinion, Feb. 16].

As a retired counselor for Suffolk County middle school and high school students, I had many experiences in reporting abuse cases that ranged from single instances to ones in which children lived with ongoing physical and/or emotional abuse.

It was well-known among school support staff that even the most dedicated and well-intentioned Child Protective Services workers were up against Family Court judges who consistently ruled to keep children at home with parents, even in the most difficult and threatening family situations — regardless whether removal for a while would be in the child’s best interest.

Franchetti’s suggestions for accountability for Family Court judges and reviews of their cases would be steps in the right direction. So would passing “Kyra’s Law,” which would shift the priority in custody cases to children’s safety.

Increasing funds for CPS and proactive programs that provide one-on-one support for healthier family dynamics would also be advantageous.

 — Nancy Winkler,  North Babylon

Religion can help teen mental health

As a former youth counselor and current volunteer counselor, I found the article “Mental health crisis among teenage girls” disturbing [News, Feb. 15]. Suicide rates are increasing exponentially as are feelings of anxiety, alienation and depression.

An increase in the number of counselors would surely alleviate the situation to some extent as would limiting time on social media.

However, another antidote not mentioned in the article is that of religious affiliation. Adolescents engaged in practicing a formal religion usually have lower suicide rates and fewer feelings of depression, alienation and loneliness. Those who can guide adolescents in that direction have little to lose and everything to gain.

 — Michael Stanions, Brookhaven

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