NIAGARA FALLS - Even from her porch in Niagara Falls, Eain Brooks' paternal grandmother has a goal: to reach the entire world.
"I hope that Eain is going to make people aware," Tammie Garcia said. "The whole United States. Even countries... that children are precious. They're little and their precious."
She's also speaking out about Mathew Kuzdzal, the boyfriend
of Eain's mother who now stands charged with murder for allegedly beating the
boy to death, and about Eain's mom herself.
She claims the mother had several boyfriends over the course
of Eain's life who were abusive.
"She should be held accountable for this," Garcia
Brooks, the five-year-old boy whom police said died after his mother's boyfriend beat him to death in Buffalo, is now the central figure in an organization named "Eain's Echo
." In a joint effort between Garcia and her own mother, Carolyn Spring-Baker, the group will lobby for legislative and political change to prevent child abuse and impact the way local and state authorities investigate cases.
Brooks' family has maintained that Erie County Child Protective Services was called on several occasions but did not intervene in time to save Eain's life.
"Everything needs to be changed," Garcia said. "Everybody needs to be held accountable."
Eain's Echo will hold its first event on Sunday, Oct. 20 at Delaware Park. The "Awareness Walk" will cost five dollars to register. All proceeds will benefit the foundation. Spring-Baker also said the group will plan a major event this spring as a prelude to Child Abuse Awareness Month, which falls in April.
"I'm trying, with my mother, to work so hard to get back in the limelight and show that we need change," Garcia said.
With a state investigation under way, state senator Tim Kennedy said it's time to take notice.
"We're going to continue to look into this and hold people accountable at the end of the day," Kennedy said.
At the county level, it appears some change has resulted in the aftermath of the Brooks case. Although Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is prohibited by law to discuss the case specifically, he confirmed this week that the county has fired two Child Protective Service case workers, in addition to suspending two other supervisors and reassigning other staff members.
The legislature also approved adding 10 positions in the Department of Social Services, which include seven positions directly involved in CPS casework.
Poloncarz may not be able to directly link the staff changes to Brooks' death, but he's made it clear that something needs to be done.
"I don't want another Eain Brooks [to happen]," Poloncarz said.
Neither does Eain's family.
"I'm not going to bash Erie County. But I am going to say, they didn't do enough. But they're understaffed. That's politics," Garcia said. "I am happy they started to make the changes. They needed to. The changes... might save another little boy's life."