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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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ARTICLES BY DATE
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.
NEWS
October 13, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
SOME PEOPLE might tend to lose a little concentration when pastors drone on with their sermons. But not Richelle Phillips. She actually made notes and dissected the messages. "She found a way to make every message her very own," said her husband, James Phillips. That was Richelle Phillips. She had an analytical mind to go with the compassion that marked a life of service to children, young people in trouble and elderly folks who needed a lift. Richelle F. Phillips, a social worker, church leader and devoted mother, died Oct 3 of breast cancer.
NEWS
September 25, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
HER FAMILY called Arlene Beverly a "force to be reckoned with. " That was because Arlene, from childhood, "had definite opinions and specific requirements for the way things should be done," her family said. "Somehow she often prevailed in making others see things from her perspective. " It seemed that everything Arlene did, she did it the best it could be done, from music and ballet to gourmet cooking to her professions as a dedicated social worker, court officer and occupational trainer.
NEWS
June 9, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
JIM KELLY devoted his life to helping others, including needy children, teens, couples having difficulties with their marriage and families needing some sound counseling. "He was very kind," said his daughter, Jane Kelly-Brobbey. "He had a lot of wisdom and a lot of spirit. " James H. Kelly, who worked for a number of psychological and residential service agencies and was a case worker for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, an Army veteran of the Korean War and active churchman, died May 4. He was 86 and lived in East Mount Airy.
NEWS
May 23, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mary Gillin Williams, 62, of Warrington, who fought back from a series of illnesses beginning in 1972 to live an active life as a social worker, teacher and mother, died Friday, May 15, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of complications after a liver transplant. Born in Mayfair, Mrs. Williams grew up in Upper Darby and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School in 1971. While attending Villanova University in 1972, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. After treatment, she went into remission in 1976.
NEWS
May 1, 2015 | By Caitlin McCabe, Inquirer Staff Writer
Two weeks ago, a child who was sexually abused in Delaware County was shuffled from sterile office to sterile office as police, then prosecutors, and then social workers all asked the child to recount the incident. That was standard procedure, and one that often further traumatized child victims, experts say. But now, a victim will have to tell that story only once. On Tuesday, Delaware County dedicated a Children's Advocacy Center in Media that will serve as a child-friendly setting in which investigators and social workers can coordinate responses to child-sex-abuse cases.
NEWS
April 21, 2015
A telling tumble I do not think it appropriate to question mayoral candidate Lynne M. Abraham's health because of her age. However, her recent collapse at a televised debate appropriately raised a question about her judgment. In other words, what could she have been thinking if, in fact, as reported, she had not eaten all day? I ask the question as a longtime admirer. But with her judgment at issue, that bears directly on her qualifications to govern Philadelphia. |Karen Porter, West Chester Time taken for tests As a retired School District teacher, I am in complete agreement with a recent letter writer who cited two of the real problems with testing: that they address only an extremely limited set of skills, and that they do not take into account the variety of backgrounds from which the student body is drawn ("One size doesn't fit," April 13)
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