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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.
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.
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NEWS
April 2, 2014 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Joan Sidders Valdez, 73, of Sicklerville, who retired in 1999 after 28 years as a social worker at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, died of cardiac arrest Thursday, March 27, at Virtua Marlton. Mrs. Valdez's work in mental health did not end when her Ancora career did, a colleague, Carol Weiss, said in an interview. "She was extremely active" with the nonprofit organization NJ Partners: Aging, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Inc., Weiss said. Its website states that it was founded to focus "on the needs of older adults with a mental health or substance abuse problem.
NEWS
March 15, 2014 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Barbara Smith Johnston, 81, of Cherry Hill, a social worker for Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Hammonton, N.J., and the Merchantville School District, died of complications from a stroke Thursday, March 6, at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. Mrs. Johnston chose social work for a career, daughter Jennifer said, because she wanted to be "an advocate for those who may not have a voice. " Born in Hampton, Va., Mrs. Johnston was the valedictorian of the class of 1951 at Huntington High School in Newport News, Va., and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1955 at Virginia State University.
NEWS
March 2, 2014 | By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer
Any hope that the city's labor settlement this week with AFSCME District Council 47 would lead to speedy progress with its big brother, District Council 33, was punctured Friday with a negotiating session that apparently went nowhere. The Nutter administration's negotiating team met twice Friday afternoon with a roomful of about 25 officials from D.C. 33 in the Liberty Ballroom of the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. The first meeting lasted about three minutes. The second, about two hours later, went for five.
NEWS
February 11, 2014 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
  Linnea Zepf, 66, of Northfield, N.J., an Atlantic County social worker, died of lung cancer Wednesday, Jan. 29, at home. Since 2007, Ms. Zepf had worked for the Division of Intergenerational Services of the Atlantic County Department of Human Services, her daughter, Dawn Joslin, said. Born in Philadelphia, Ms. Zepf graduated from Cherry Hill West High School and earned a bachelor's degree in political science at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 1989. She attended the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., from 1991 to '93. At Pennsylvania State University, she and her daughter attended a short program, Ice Cream 101, Business Management for Ice Cream Retailers, Joslin said, "so we could open an ice cream store in Ventnor.
NEWS
January 23, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
MARY G. Sealander spent her entire career taking care of children who really needed taking care of. She worked with foster kids for the Pennsylvania Society to Protect Children from Cruelty in Philadelphia, and as an instructional aide working with learning-disabled children in the Haverford Township School District for 22 years. With the child protective society, she often had to go into some disreputable city neighborhoods to find children who needed help. She sought to locate loving homes for those abandoned or abused.
NEWS
April 9, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Leona Coren Ellick Kornfeld, 90, a Philadelphia social worker and advocate for those with AIDS and mental-health needs, died Saturday, March 23, of dementia and advanced age at Chandler Hall, a nursing home in Newtown, Bucks County. Before it was common, Mrs. Kornfeld made it her business to go into the community and look for those in need of help from society. She met with clients, figured out what services they were entitled to, and guided them through the application process. Clients included widows, elderly shut-ins, and those suffering from AIDS and mental illnesses, said her daughter, Carol Coren.
NEWS
March 10, 2013 | By Andrew Maykuth, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Charles Perry Gallun, 71, a social worker and victims' rights advocate who pioneered treatment for perpetrators of domestic violence, died Thursday at his home in Germantown. The cause was complications of lung cancer, according to his family. Mr. Gallun, who grew up in West Philadelphia and was known to his friends as "Chuck," worked for more than 30 years at Creative Health Services, a behavioral healthcare provider in Pottstown. Known for his sense of humor, Mr. Gallun liked to tell people he met his wife, Priscilla Becroft, in jail - they spotted each other at Holmesburg Prison, where they both worked for the Philadelphia Prisons System.
NEWS
February 27, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
A memorial service will be held Sunday, March 3, for Rita S. Urwitz, 69, a former Philadelphia social worker and union leader, who died Sunday, Jan. 6, of complications from chemotherapy at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer in August, said her partner, Carol Reppert. Born in New York City, Mrs. Urwitz earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from La Salle University in 1975. She later earned a master's degree in social service from Bryn Mawr College.
NEWS
February 9, 2013 | By Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Eula M. Cousins, 110, a pioneering black social worker and educator who lived to be one of the oldest Americans, died Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Cathedral Village retirement community in Philadelphia's Andorra section. Despite her age, Mrs. Cousins, an avid reader, remained sharp-minded and quick-witted, able to discuss any contemporary issue in detail. "She was one of the most dynamic individuals I have ever met," said Acel Moore, associate editor emeritus of The Inquirer, who was a longtime friend.
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