Merkel calls for vigilance on neglected children after girl dies
23 November 2007, Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed shock Friday that a 5-year-old German girl died of starvation this week because her parents did not feed her, and joined calls for better surveillance of problem families.
23 November 2007
Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed shock Friday that a 5-year-old German girl died of starvation this week because her parents did not feed her, and joined calls for better surveillance of problem families.
Lea-Sophie died late Tuesday shortly after being admitted to a hospital in the northern city of Schwerin. Her father, 26, and mother, 23, were arrested for manslaughter.
An autopsy showed she died of thirst and malnourishment, weighing just 7.4 kilogrammes when children her age usually weigh 20.
Social workers monitoring the family said they had seen nothing amiss, and Lea-Sophie's baby brother had been healthy and well-nourished.
Merkel spokesman Thomas Steg said the chancellor was deeply shocked and believed the case was yet another that showed how important it was for neighbours to tip off social workers about child neglect.
Five horrifying child deaths from neglect in a land of plenty in just two years have appalled Germans.
The other cases were Jacqueline, 14 months, in March this year; Leon, 9 months, abandoned in December 2006; Mehmet, 4, weighed 10 kilogrammes in October 2006; and Jessica, 7, in March 2005.
Federal figures show that social-welfare authorities used their powers to remove nearly 26,000 children in Germany from their families last year because of neglect or violence.
Subject: German news