Teddy's Law introduced to protect Ohio children - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio


Teddy's Law introduced to protect Ohio children

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WARREN, Ohio - Loved ones of 14-year-old murder victim Teddy Foltz, have joined forces with State Senator Capri Cafaro, in an effort to pass "Teddy's Law."

Senate Bill 248, as it's officially known, has been introduced to the Ohio Senate, and the mission is to protect children.

Senator Cafaro hopes to put the bill on the fast track, and get it passed for the next school year, so that other children won't fall through the cracks.

In Teddy's case family members, and friends say the child was isolated so that the abuse could go undetected.

Shawn Tedesco is the father of Teddy Foltz, "Our mission for Teddy's Law is to honor my son's memory and increase awareness of child abuse, and help other abused children."

The teen from Struthers was tortured, beaten and murdered at the hands of his mother's boyfriend Zaryl Bush, who is now serving 33 years to life in prison. Teddy's mother, Shain Widdersheim is also serving time in prison for allowing the on-going abuse. 

Now Teddy's grandparents Sara and Paul Foltz, and Shawn Tedesco, Teddy's father, are working with Senator Capri Cafaro to keep the child's memory alive... by turning pain into action.

At a news conference for Teddy's Law, Senator Cafaro said, "Teddy's Law aims to address the weaknesses in both the child protective service system, and the inernet based school structure in Ohio."

Teddy's loved ones say his mother pulled him out of a traditional school setting to be home schooled after abuse was reported in Hubbard, removing the teen from the safety of a school, where teachers are required to report suspected abuse.

"The bill creates protocols for those applying to educate a child at home by creating a link between the local public service children agency, and the education system. These policies are meant to be a check and balance to ensure that a child's best interests are met," Senator Cafaro said.

Teddy's Law requires in-person interviews of the caregiver(s) and the child, and then a recommendation is made to the school system if there are concerns about removing a child from school.

There's also an intervention program, and the proposal goes one step further, requiring child service agencies to have access to a statewide automated child welfare information system. An alert to on-going investigations or reports of abuse, no matter where it occurred.

Paul Foltz is Teddy's grandfather, "We hope this will prevent any other child from falling through the cracks."

The ACLU and the National Home School Defense Association did not return calls for comment on if they would support or oppose the proposal.

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