A new $50 million federal program proposed by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer would help smaller and financially struggling communities around the country hire more social workers to help protect children.
Schumer is calling the proposal "Erin's Law" after 11-year-old Erin Maxwell of Palermo.
Erin was starved and neglected by her parents before she was strangled in August 2008 by her 28-year-old stepbrother. Maxwell's parents have been sentenced to two years in jail for child endangerment. Her stepbrother will be sentenced next month to 25 years to life for her murder.
County social workers visited the Maxwell house three times but did not remove her. A subsequent probe suggested the county agency was significantly understaffed in the face of growing caseloads.