Death of 6-Year-Old Boy in Harlem Not the First Time City's Child Welfare Agency on Hot Seat in de Blasio's Tenure
Five people at the city's Administration for Children's Services have been put on desk duty after the death of a 6-year-old boy in Harlem this week. This is not the first time the city's child welfare agency has been on the hot seat during de Blasio's tenure. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
The rain soaked but did not destroy the vigil for Zymere Perkins, the 6-year-old boy who died in Harlem this week. His mother and her boyfriend have been arrested in connection with his death.
The brutal fatality is another test for the city's child welfare agency, and for the mayor.
"Many times, there are warnings, and the question is, what do we do with those warnings?" de Blasio said Wednesday.
This is not the first child to die tragically under de Blasio's watch. Just 17 days on the job, he was dealing with another crisis, another little boy killed by his caregiver.
He announced nine reforms in January 2014.
This week, we decided to check in on them. Seven of them, in one form or another, were completed. Two have stalled, perhaps the heavier lifts needing approval from outside of City Hall.
"The law needs to be changed so that ACS can also gain information about active arrests that have not yet resulted in a conviction," de Blasio said.
The city has failed to get legislation through the state legislature to give child welfare case workers access more to criminal records. Right now, they do not have access to arrest records for caregivers.
NY1 is told the legislation was deemed an overreach in Albany.
Then, there's this.
"The goal is to notify parole and probation officers, even when someone under their oversight is given supervision of a child by the family courts," de Blasio said. "So we want greater coordination between all these agencies."
The administration has been unable to convince the courts to share family court orders with probation or parole officers.
It's unclear if any of these stalled proposals would have made a difference in the death of Zymere Perkins this week. That matter is now under investigation by the city's Department of Investigation, the Manhattan District Attorney and the governor's office.
This new case could prompt a fresh call for reform at the city's child welfare agency. When NY1 asked the governor's office whether their investigation would include all of the Administration for Children's Services, they said they would go wherever their investigation took them.