Child advocacy group details ‘failure’ to protect Thomas Valva from abuse

The Safe Center, a Nassau County-based organization that protects victims of family violence and sexual assault, says there needs to be a change in the systemic response to child abuse so similar cases do not happen again.

Jenn Seelig and

News 12 Staff

Mar 11, 2023, 10:20 PM

Updated 403 days ago

Share:

Child advocacy groups say there was failure in the system that was created to prevent child abuse in the wake of the guilty verdict in the Angela Pollina trial.
Pollina was found guilty of murder in the death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva.
The Safe Center, a Nassau County-based organization that protects victims of family violence and sexual assault, says there needs to be a change in the systemic response to child abuse so similar cases do not happen again.
"Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect is something that happens nationwide, and it is in fact here on Long Island," said the center's director of education Jennifer Rowland.
Pollina and her ex-fiancée, Michael Valva, were both convicted of second-degree murder and child endangerment charges for abusing his two sons after they forced them to sleep in their freezing Center Moriches garage.
Autopsy reports showed that Thomas died of hypothermia.
Members at the Safe Center say more work needs to be done and that no guilty verdict will bring back the 8-year-old boy.
"People want to blame [Child Protective Services], people want to blame the courts, people want to blame the parents. There is a lot of fingers pointing going on. However, we have to realize there is a system in place here that is made to protect children. Where was the breakdown? Where was the failure in this case?" Rowland says.
She says people need to spread awareness on child abuse prevention. Everyone needs to know the signs of abuse.
Rowland says within the last year, the Safe Center has helped at least 5,000 families in Nassau County. When calls come from Suffolk County, they will work with other state and local agencies to provide more resources for those families.
If you need to report an abuse case, you can reach out to the Safe Center's website.


More from News 12
2:08
Alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer appears in court; judge works to set trial date

Alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer appears in court; judge works to set trial date

2:21
Chilly with rain overnight through Thursday; mostly sunny Saturday

Chilly with rain overnight through Thursday; mostly sunny Saturday

0:37
Police: Bullet lodged in wallet during shooting in Coram; victim uninjured

Police: Bullet lodged in wallet during shooting in Coram; victim uninjured

1:40
Hungry students left with few options as eateries at Nassau Community College suddenly shut down

Hungry students left with few options as eateries at Nassau Community College suddenly shut down

0:22
Central Islip man sentenced to 22 years in prison for raping daughter

Central Islip man sentenced to 22 years in prison for raping daughter

1:45
Long Island pizzerias come together to raise funds for family of slain detective

Long Island pizzerias come together to raise funds for family of slain detective

0:30
Hempstead man pleads guilty, gets 8 months in jail for drug trafficking

Hempstead man pleads guilty, gets 8 months in jail for drug trafficking

0:19
Nassau Legislature approves 2 new outdoor fields for Mitchel Athletic Complex

Nassau Legislature approves 2 new outdoor fields for Mitchel Athletic Complex

2:01
Proposed state budget includes changes to program that provides services to those in need of caregivers

Proposed state budget includes changes to program that provides services to those in need of caregivers

1:43
Cupcake Moms deliver baked goods to Ronald McDonald House

Cupcake Moms deliver baked goods to Ronald McDonald House

1:43
Riverhead School District approves budget, still plans to cut positions

Riverhead School District approves budget, still plans to cut positions

0:24
Police: 2nd suspect arrested for fatal Brentwood hit-and-run

Police: 2nd suspect arrested for fatal Brentwood hit-and-run

0:20
Police: EMT identified as motorcyclist killed in Bay Shore crash

Police: EMT identified as motorcyclist killed in Bay Shore crash

2:13
Local farm gives neurodivergent people a place to flourish

Local farm gives neurodivergent people a place to flourish

0:26
Former NYC officer and Marine reservist pleads not guilty to deadly DWI crash in Valley Stream

Former NYC officer and Marine reservist pleads not guilty to deadly DWI crash in Valley Stream

1:34
West Islip BOE approves $139M budget as parents address safety concerns

West Islip BOE approves $139M budget as parents address safety concerns

1:04
Driver in fatal shooting of Detective Jonathan Diller pleads not guilty

Driver in fatal shooting of Detective Jonathan Diller pleads not guilty

1:59
State budget tentative agreement allows school boards to move forward

State budget tentative agreement allows school boards to move forward

1:30
DEC: 3rd layer discovered under chemical drums already uncovered at Bethpage park

DEC: 3rd layer discovered under chemical drums already uncovered at Bethpage park

0:22
Police: 2 officers injured while making arrest at Bellerose 7-Eleven

Police: 2 officers injured while making arrest at Bellerose 7-Eleven