Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
Brooklyn DA Investigates Failure of Child Welfare Agency to Protect Child
Friday, October 08, 2010
In a rare move, The Brooklyn District Attorney's office says it will investigate the city's child welfare agency and its role in the death of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce in early September.
Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes says given the city's failure to protect another child four years ago, Nixzmary Brown, he's "sufficiently troubled" and wants to find out why Marchella died.
The probe will look at the role played by three entities: the city's Administration for Children's Services, a Brooklyn non-profit partially responsible for monitoring Marchella and the hospital that released the child into her mother's care.
On Tuesday, ACS Commissioner John Mattingly admitted caseworkers failed to visit Marchella's family as required. He also said the agency neglected to act when it was clear her mother continued to use drugs.
According to an ACS review of the case, the sickly girl needed a tracheal tube for breathing, was seriously underweight, often tied down for long periods of time and was hit with a video tape box.
ACS says it will cooperate fully with the investigation but had no other comment. Prosecutors are already investigating the child's mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, who is facing assault charges. The medical examiner still has not determined the cause of the child's death and more serious charges could come.