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NEWS
July 22, 2013 | By Susan FitzGerald, For The Inquirer
Jaimee Drakewood hurried in from the rain, eager to get to her final appointment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Ever since her birth 23 years ago, a team of researchers has been tracking every aspect of her development - gauging her progress as an infant, measuring her IQ as a preschooler, even peering into her adolescent brain using an MRI machine. Now, after nearly a quarter century, the federally funded study was ending, and the question the researchers had been asking was answered.
NEWS
August 7, 1987
The circumstances were pathetic almost beyond belief. The little girl's dried-out body was found in May, kneeling beside her bed in a West Philadelphia housing project apartment, apparently in the spot where she had died three months before. The girl's 22-year old mother has been charged with murder for allowing the child to starve to death. The death raised the question of whether others were to blame as well. Child welfare workers working for the city had been aware that Sylvia Smith had been the victim of child abuse prior to her death.
NEWS
June 1, 2004
SO JILL Porter thinks locking up social workers is a good idea. Figures, since she has never had to go from crack house to crack house in search of a newborn child to investigate reports of child abuse and neglect. Figures, since neither she nor Judge Kevin Dougherty have ever had to trudge up a five-story tenement in the blazing summer heat to rescue an abandoned infant living in squalor and filth. Our city social workers are dedicated to the welfare of all children and go above and beyond the call of duty every day of their working lives, risking their own health and safety to secure the health and safety of the city's most vulnerable children.
NEWS
June 25, 2009
I READ the articles commending the Philadelphia teacher of the year and the police officer who won the Fencl Award. I congratulate both. But where is the recognition for the Department of Human Services staff who work tirelessly to protect the city's most vulnerable citizens, the children of Philadelphia? Yes, we've gotten some negative press lately regarding child fatalities, but there's so much good that comes from this agency for children removed from unsafe situations, reunified with families made safer through services, permanent homes found for children where reunification isn't an option.
NEWS
July 16, 1987 | By LESLIE SCISM, Daily News Staff Writer
Department of Human Services social workers have two major complaints: "There's not enough workers, and there's not enough resources," says Ed Nowak, a shop steward of District Council 47, of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. State inspectors who visited Human Services late last year confirmed that caseloads are high. The inspection, which came about a month after the city closed its file on 3-year-old Sylvia Smith, the West Philadelphia child found starved to death in May, revealed that one social worker was handling 95 cases - 65 more than state regulations permit.
NEWS
June 30, 1988 | By KATHY SHEEHAN, Daily News Staff Writer
Some 12,000 social workers in state Welfare Department offices and hospitals plan to walk off the job at midnight after rejecting a three-year contract offer last night that included a two-tier system of raises. RoscoeJohnson, president of Local 668 of the Service Employees International Union, also known as the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, said 2,000 union members in Philadelphia voted last night to strike when the contract expires tonight. A state spokesman said the state would try to keep hospital and Welfare offices open tomorrow with management personnel if the union walks out. "Obviously the commonwealth wants to resolve the differences and doesn't want any termination of services," said spokesman John Taylor.
NEWS
March 29, 1999 | By Francesca Chapman Daily News wire services contributed to this report
Social workers not amused by 'Norm Show' He's maddened scores of fans who have walked out on his off-colored comedy routines, he's annoyed his former bosses at "Saturday Night Live," and now Norm Macdonald has even irritated a group of people who are ordinarily known for their empathy: social workers. In his new sitcom "The Norm Show," Macdonald's tax-evading character is told by a judge that he can go to jail, or perform community service by becoming a social worker. He chooses the second option.
NEWS
February 18, 1997 | By Liz Levine
A key component is seldom cited in the current school-reform discussions. As a social worker, I visited many public schools, including those at the bottom in student performance. I met regularly with teachers, principals, guidance counselors and school psychologists. I generally found students in classes, and teachers teaching. The hallways were quiet and the students well-behaved. I found educators to be very skilled - and completely overwhelmed. Without fail, teachers and administrators at each school expressed a similar wish - to have social workers relieve them of some of their burden.
NEWS
August 20, 1987 | BY THOMAS PAINE CRONIN
Social workers are not miracle workers. No one feels worse than the social workers who handled the cases of 3-year-old Sylvia Smith, who starved to death at the hands of her mother, and of 2-year-old Malik Richard Barnhill, who died of abuse and neglect in a North Philadelphia rowhouse. Is it the social worker's fault these two children died? Mayor Goode says so. He said they "did not do all that they should have," and recommended that the workers and their supervisors be disciplined.
NEWS
April 7, 1991 | By Lini S. Kadaba, Inquirer Staff Writer
For Tracey Skolnick, the three days of intense training in Norristown amounted to a crash course in child-welfare issues - a sort of Real-Life Social Work 101. "When you first come (to the job), you don't know anything," said Skolnick, a case worker for Montgomery County's Office of Children and Youth for just 2 1/2 months. "It's overwhelming. " Now, she says, she will manage her eight cases with more confidence. And organizers of the state-mandated training hope she will have even more competence.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
June 30, 2016 | By Lauren Feiner, Staff Writer
Cheryl Bembery Darden, 69, a former social worker in the Philadelphia court system who devoted her career to helping children, died Thursday, June 9, in her home in Altadena, Calif., from complications of multiple myeloma, according to her family. A Philadelphia native, Ms. Bembery Darden spent her early career with the Common Plea Court Counseling and Referral Unit, working with children. She worked under Grace Nash, who had helped her and her sister find homes as teenagers after their grandmother could no longer care for them, said her sister, Sharon Bembery.
BUSINESS
May 20, 2016 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Staff Writer
Cynthia Figueroa is trying to figure out how to handle the new U.S. Department of Labor overtime regulations announced Wednesday that will take effect Dec. 1. Figueroa runs Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a North Philadelphia social-service agency. Under the new rules, enterprises will have to pay overtime to full-time workers who earn less than $47,476 - regardless of their responsibilities, regardless of whether they served as managers or as professionals, regardless of whether they were paid salaries, not hourly wages.
NEWS
May 18, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
A life celebration will be held this month for Belle Parmet, 97, of Center City, a longtime social worker, who died in her sleep Saturday, April 30, at VNA Hospice of Philadelphia. She had lived in her apartment at the Philadelphian until several days before her death, visiting with friends and family, participating in book clubs in the building, and attending a family seder. She continued to read two daily newspapers - finishing the crossword puzzles over breakfast - watched current events on TV, and looked for ways to stay involved in local politics.
NEWS
March 26, 2016 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer
Telling a crowd of supporters that the civil rights of African Americans are more important than her arrest, social worker Nicol Newman announced Thursday that she wants a trial on her summary offense charge of disorderly conduct. Newman, 48, and her attorney, Michael Coard, had a brief appearance before city Trial Commissioner Marsha Floyd, where Newman rejected pleading guilty or going into a first-offender diversion program in connection with the March 9 incident at her home. Floyd set April 19 for a trial before a Municipal Court judge.
NEWS
March 7, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
Gloria McIntyre Zucker, 73, of Mount Airy, a social worker, teacher, and counselor, died Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health after surgery for a newly diagnosed brain tumor. Ms. Zucker was such a fountain of energy that her death caught those around her by surprise, said her former husband, Steven Zucker, with whom she remained friendly after their divorce in 1981. She managed to juggle overlapping career interests in human services, education, and theology.
NEWS
February 18, 2016
His name was Tymir. But he could have been Jayden, Jaquinn, Khalil, Nyree, Nylah, Aaron, or Albert, or any of the dozens of Philadelphia's children betrayed by their parents and then failed by the city agency charged with protecting them. It's been 10 years since 14-year-old Danieal Kelly starved to death in a squalid Mantua apartment while in the care of the city Department of Human Services. In those 10 years, a new narrative has emerged for DHS, one of a chastened agency that has moved to correct its failures.
NEWS
February 7, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
A memorial service is planned in May for Elizabeth MacLeod Scattergood, 98, a retired social worker, who died Sunday, Jan. 17, of Alzheimer's disease at Kendal Crosslands in Kennett Square. Mrs. Scattergood, known as "Betty," had been a longtime resident of Germantown. Born in Nova Scotia, she graduated from high school in the Canadian province of New Brunswick before moving with her family to New York state. She earned a bachelor's degree in 1936 from Tusculum College in Tennessee and a master's degree in 1947 from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
NEWS
January 8, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
Helen L. Cooke, 65, of Erdenheim, a teacher who during a second career supervised a program to feed as many as 5,000 Philadelphia seniors in their homes, died Tuesday, Jan. 5, after a long battle with oral cancer. Mrs. Cooke died at Keystone House, a hospice in Wyndmoor. At the nonprofit Philadelphia Corp. for Aging (PCA), Mrs. Cooke was assistant director for health and nutrition services. For most of her 25 years with the agency, she oversaw the delivery of in-home meals to the elderly as well as the hot lunches served at several dozen senior centers throughout Philadelphia.
NEWS
December 3, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Unis Uthedra Francis, 82, of Southwest Philadelphia, a Jamaican émigré whose belief in hard work and education fueled a rise from nurse's aide to social worker, died at home Saturday, Nov. 14. "My mother was determined," daughter Elaine Hansom said. "She was just really a hardworking woman. " Born in Watermount, Jamaica, Mrs. Francis was the third child of Altimont George and Emeriah Whyte. The Whytes instilled in their daughter bedrock values - faith in God, service to community, and love of family - but above all were hard work and the importance of education.
NEWS
November 5, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sister Mary Peter Kerner, 79, a teacher and social worker who found ways to help those living on society's fringes, died Saturday, Oct. 31, of a stroke at Assisi House in Aston. She had been a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 58 years. Born Frances Victoria Kerner in Philadelphia, she graduated from John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School. Sister Mary Peter earned a bachelor's degree in English from Neumann University in 1970 and a master's degree in social work from the Catholic University of America in Washington in 1976.
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