PHOENIX, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The similarities between Jordan, the 17-year-old with cerebral palsy who died in May of 2021 and that of 11-year-old Erin Maxwell have the community’s hearts aching once again. Sheila Dion, the founder of Erin’s Angels called for action.

Dion started the organization after Maxwell’s horrific death in 2008. The little girl, also from the town of Palermo, often went hungry, lived in squalor and was killed by her stepbrother.

“How did this happen again,” Dion asked. “It happening once to Erin was enough. It just really hurts to think that it could happen again and I really just think that people need to take action.”

Over the weekend, Dion released a statement:

The maltreatment, malnourishment and eventual death of Jordan Brooks sadly reminds all of us of the untimely death of Erin Maxwell.  The death of any child in such a manner is an intolerable act of cruelty and Jordan’s death has had a devastating impact on our community.  As only the latest reminder of the vulnerability of innocent children, it implores us to do everything we can right now to keep our children safe. As an organization committed to ending childhood hunger, we share the community’s solidarity and deep concern, and we want to echo the call for action.  Erin’s Angels once again pledges our support to protect children from food insecurity in every county and community.

School closures have impacted the high levels of stress and anxiety of parents and children across the nation. They have increased the likelihood that children experience and observe physical, psychological and sexual abuse at home – particularly those children already living in violent or dysfunctional family situations. The most vulnerable children – those with disabilities like Jordan are a particular concern.

We are calling on state and local government to urgently respond with a united effort to protect children in Oswego County from abuse. Governments have a central role to play and they must ensure the protection of all children from violence, neglect and abuse. Child protection services and workers must be designated as “essential” and resourced accordingly. Working with and supporting governments, our collective response must include: maintaining essential health and social welfare services, including mental health and psychosocial support; providing child protection case management and emergency alternative care arrangements; ensuring social protection for the most vulnerable children and households; continuing care and protection for children in institutions; and communicating with and engaging parents, caregivers and children themselves with evidence-based information and advice.

Erin’s Angels is committed to sharing resources and guidance for teachers, practitioners, parents, caregivers and children themselves for all manners of food insecurity. We support the courageous healthcare, child protection and humanitarian professionals working around the clock to keep children safe. We must plan ahead together, so that we can get back on track toward the goals of ending all forms of violence, abuse and neglect of children.

Erin’s Angels partners with the food bank to ensure students don’t go hungry.

To learn more or donate, visit:

Contact Erin’s Angels: or (315) 399-6602

Erin’s Angels of CNY, Inc.
PO Box 443
Phoenix, NY 13135