Child Welfare Workers Decry Homicide Charges Against Former ACS Employees
Child welfare workers held protests throughout the city on Friday, saying they were outraged after two of their own were charged in the death of a Brooklyn toddler. NY1's Ruschell Boone went to a protest in Queens and filed the following report.
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Administration for Children's Serivices workers say a witchhunt is underway, after the Brooklyn district attorney charged two former ACS employees with criminally negligent homicide in connection with the death of four-year-old Marchella Pierce.
On Friday, the child welfare workers who held a protest in Jamaica, Queens said employees who do wrong should be fired, not prosecuted.
"It's absolutely appalling and absurd," said one worker.
"It's a headline-seeking district attorney," said another.
The district attorney said the child might still be alive, had caseworker Damon Adams and his supervisor Chereece Bell done their jobs.
Investigators say Marchella was beaten and starved, and weighed only 18 pounds when she was found dead inside her family's home in September.
Adams allegedly falsified records, saying he visited the family when he hadn't.
The two suspects have both pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Adams is facing up to seven years in prison and Bell could serve four.
"If something is not reported to the case supervisor how is it you can turn around and hold the supervisor responsible?" said a protester.
While the ACS workers, supervisors and their supporters were pleading the case in the court of public opinion, a few of their clients stood by and heckled.
"No, they don't do no good job [sic]," said one bystander.
"They save our families? They save kids? No they don't," said another.
"If the workers did not do their jobs, they deserve what they get," said a third. "But the city, the budget cuts are depleting staff and they would like us to do more with less."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show on Friday that Marchella's death cannot be blamed on budget cuts or a burdensome case load.
"They were not overworked, no. What they did or didn't do, what they should have done or shouldn't have done, that's what's being investigated," said the mayor.
Ultimately, it seems the courts will decide, regardless of protesters' demands.