State officials should vigorously review events leading up to the discovery of two girls found starving and dehydrated in the basement of their Wichita home last month.
The father and stepmother of the two girls, ages 6 and 7, have been charged with abusing the girls over a 10-month period. The home where they were found was well-stocked with food, but the girls reported they were only allowed to eat when their father was home. There also is evidence the girls had been beaten and tortured.
But perhaps the most disturbing part of this sickening story is that Wichita school officials had told the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, not once but twice, that they suspected the two girls were being abused and neglected. The first report was made in September and the second in May.
Whatever investigation of the reports took place apparently wasn't sufficient to prevent the deplorable condition in which these girls were found. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has ordered a full investigation of how the case was handled by SRS and all other agencies involved.
It's clear that, for whatever reason, the system designed to protect children in Kansas miserably failed these girls. All possible steps should be taken to find out how that failure occurred and how it can be corrected before other children are allowed to suffer.