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ACS Caseworkers Suspended in Case of Malnourished Child

Friday, September 24, 2010

Two child protective workers have been suspended without pay for failing to follow proper procedures in the case of Marchella Pierce, a sick and severely malnourished 4-year-old found dead on September 2. 

The Administration for Children's Services has been promising a thorough review of the case. So far, facts have been trickling out and the agency won't yet say exactly what the caseworkers did wrong.

The family was supposed to have been under the watch of ACS since January when a non-profit, the Child Development Support Corporation, was assigned to monitor them. But ACS says that organization visited the family far less than was necessary. It terminated a contract with them in June. The non-profit denies any wrongdoing.

During the summer, a hospital worker called ACS concerned that the child's mother was unable to handle her tracheotomy tube. It's unclear whether the suspended caseworkers were the ones responsible for handling that call.

Meanwhile, Marchella's mother has been indicted on second degree assault and more serious charges could be pending. Investigators have said she used to tie the child to a bed. The Medical Examiner has yet to determine the cause of the child's death.

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Comments [1]

Richard Wexler

This case is only the latest consequence of the retreat from reform at ACS ever since the death of Nixzmary Brown. With every caseworker terrified of having the next such tragedy on her caseload, the number of children torn from their parents soared by 50 percent. That stole time that workers could have used to find children in real danger, and it stole resources that could have been used to prevent family problems from spiraling out of control.

Details are in our report on New York City child welfare, available here: http://www.nccpr.org/reports/dontturnback.pdf

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
http://www.nccpr.org

Sep. 24 2010 08:00 PM

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