Suffolk legislators hear from DSS in the wake of Thomas Valva’s death

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The Suffolk County Department of Social Services faced tough questions by Suffolk legislators Tuesday over the tragic death of Thomas Valva.

The 8-year-old from Center Moriches died after authorities say he was forced by his father to spend the night in a freezing garage last month.

Thomas Valva's father, Michael Valva, and his fiancée, Angela Pollina, are facing second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child charges.

The legislators heard from members of the public first. Then, there was a presentation from the DSS commissioner, Frances Pierre, and the division administrator for the Division of Family and Children, Mark Clavin.

When asked whether there are mental health professionals or psychology professionals working in the department, Clavin said no.

The lawmakers were told that there are 101 CPS case workers in Suffolk and 1,455 open cases.

The DSS commissioner said the majority of their case workers are handling 12 cases on average. After the public portion of the committee meeting, the legislators went into private executive session to ask the commissioner specific questions about the Valva case.

News 12 reported that the department is conducting an internal review of its own policies following Valva's death.

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