June 4, 2016
ISSUE | CHILD WELFARE A reason for change I applaud social worker SaraKay Smullens' commentary about the Philadelphia Department of Human Services and the city's reaction to the downgrading of DHS's license because of failures in our system. Smullens' approach is refreshing: Use this rebuke to improve our system, not to spend money we don't have arguing about whether the downgrade is warranted. As a pediatrician in Philadelphia for more than 30 years, I know - as do the many others who work with our most vulnerable citizens - that the goodwill and hard work of most of the DHS staff are not sufficient when caseloads are too heavy, services are fragmented and limited, and support - financial and philosophical - is inadequate.
May 4, 2016 |
Seven child-welfare workers in Philadelphia were fired in February and March in connection with at least two false reports about home visits, according to state officials. Rachel Kostelac, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services, said three were workers from Community Umbrella Agencies contracted by the city to handle cases, and four were with subcontracted foster-care agencies. The report of the firings followed remarks Friday by a state DHS official, who said child-welfare workers in Philadelphia had falsified reports in response to high caseloads.
May 16, 2014 |
LARBRIAH MORGAN'S voice trembled slightly as she shared her story. She was 3 years old when she and her siblings were separated and placed in foster care. By 9, she had lived with two foster mothers. One was as much a stranger to her on the day she moved out as she was six years earlier, when she moved in. She went to live with her grandparents, a home already bursting at the seams with relatives. By 17, she was back in the system. She now lives in a small apartment paid for by the child-welfare system while she juggles various jobs and a full college schedule.
August 10, 2013 |
Police Officer Teresa Sanchious wiped away tears Thursday, struggling with emotion as she told a jury she wished she had done more to save 3-year-old Jaquinn Brewton. Taking the stand on the third day of the trial of Jaquinn's godmother, Nadera Batson - charged with beating Jaquinn to death in a filthy West Philadelphia apartment in 2011 - Sanchious said she and her partner saw Batson pushing Jaquinn in his stroller through a Rite Aid parking lot just days before the boy's fatal beating.
April 15, 2013 |
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court this week will hear an emotional challenge to federal law on the adoption of Native American children, with several states, tribes, and children's welfare groups lining up to support current rules. The case involves a South Carolina couple fighting for custody of their adopted daughter who, after a court battle, was returned to her biological father in Oklahoma. At issue is the Indian Child Welfare Act, passed in 1978 because of the high number of Indian children being removed from their homes by public and private agencies.
February 8, 2013 |
Child protection workers did not prove that a Cape May County mother abused her infant even though the child tested positive for cocaine at birth, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision Wednesday. The decision overturned two lower-court decisions in the 2007 case. Drug tests alone do not substantiate abuse and protection workers must show actual or imminent harm, the justices wrote. The court also found that state child welfare laws do not apply to a fetus.
January 7, 2013
More arms is the answer National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre's statement that, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," unpalatable as it might be, is nothing but the truth. If the tragically gallant staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been armed and skilled in the use of a firearm, instead of only being able to offer themselves as human shields, or charge, unarmed, at the gunman, many of the first-graders and staff might have been saved.
September 24, 2012 |
Six years ago, after it became tragically clear that children were dying under the city's care, Philadelphia officials promised to fix things - to do better at saving innocents. "Who is in charge who gives little children to people who are so obviously, absolutely, completely incapable of taking care of them?" one Common Pleas Court judge asked of Philadelphia's Department of Human Services. A 2006 Inquirer investigation found that at least 20 children in two years had died of abuse or neglect after coming to the agency's attention.
July 24, 2012 |
If any good is to come from the NCAA's harsh sanctions against Penn State, child-welfare experts said Monday, it lies in the $60 million fine mandated for programs to prevent child sexual abuse and assist victims. District attorneys, former prosecutors, child advocates, pediatricians, and a lawyer for one of Jerry Sandusky's victims suggested a wide range of uses for the money, including: Expanding Pennsylvania's network of multidisciplinary child advocacy centers, from about 21 statewide to several dozen.