HUS 3605 Child Welfare and Family Services, SPRING 2018

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  • The story of Mary Ellen Wilson
  • #47228


    The case of Mary Ellen Wilson was a hard one for me as a mother. it happened so long ago yet it’s still relevant today as we still hear of cases where children suffer neglect and abuse not only at the hands of foster parents but their own parents. Recently in the news there was a case of 13 children who were abused and neglected by their own parents in California. Mary Ellen’s mom lost her because she was unable to pay for childcare. The couple who adopted her treated her badly. she tells of not having shoes, sleeping on cardboard, not having friends, not knowing what it’s like to be on the streets, being locked in the bedroom when her adopted mom leaves the house, being beaten everyday with a whip and even a pair of scissors. No child deserves to be treated like this.
    Fortunately, miss Etta Wheeler decided to help her. It took the help of Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA to get real help for Mary Ellen. She was helped under an animal association’s affiliation. She was compared to a “little animal”. Thankfully, we have come a long way since and there are more resources available for children so cases like that of Mary Ellen are rare. It is not comforting to know that when such cases are reported the media makes a big hype of it but it soon fades away while these innocent children continue to struggle to live with these traumatic memories. It is amazing that Mary Ellen went on to live a full life , having children of her own and being able to adapt after such an horrible start.



    The Mary Ellen Wilson Case was very disturbing and also surprising to me because I still cannot come to the conclusion that animals had more rights than children in the 1800’s. I applaud both Social Worker Ms. Wheeler, and Mr. Henry Bergh, for the wonderful and helpful job the did to help this little girl. Mary Ellen was living a very risky and horrific life that I think no child nor human being should have gone through so, I commend the people who stand up, and having a voice for those who are traumatized and can’t stand up for themselves. There’s still work to be done in this area because in today’s society it is still silently happening. We can either join to help solve the problem or be apart of the change towards finding concrete answers, as well as, solutions to eliminate these terrifying events.

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