After a six-year-old boy died after being persistently abused, three child welfare workers are in the process of being fired and another six have been demoted or suspended. The city's deputy mayor who oversees child welfare says the tragedy was a perfect storm of human error. She sat down exclusively with NY1's Courtney Gross, who filed the following report.
Nearly the same conclusion on the death of one little boy was determined in two damning reports.
Despite the warning signs, like bruises on his body and 24 school absences, caseworkers for the city's Administration for Children's Services did not see the extensive abuse Zymere Perkins was enduring.
It was that abuse which killed Zymere more than two months ago.
"The city failed this child. We failed this child," said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services.
The deputy mayor who oversees the city's child welfare agency testified before the city council on Wednesday the morning after both a city and state report found child welfare workers conducted flawed investigations into the little boy's family life.
"This was an unusual alignment of human error," said Palacio.
She then sat down exclusively with NY1.
"There were a series of failures to follow standard guidelines, to follow standard practice," said Palacio.
Palacio appeared at the hearing without the agency's commissioner, Gladys Carrion. Carrion announced her resignation this week. The administration insists she is not stepping down because of the Perkins case.
"She decided after 40 years for personal reasons this was the right time for her to retire," said Palacio.
But in her departure's wake comes new oversight. The state is requiring the city appoint an independent monitor to review its child protective services.
"This is an opportunity for us to leave no stone unturned," said Palacio.
Because of this tragedy, the city is in the process of implementing fifteen reforms, including more caseworker training.
We asked whether in the future the city would be more likely to remove children from potentially abusive households. The deputy mayor essentially said no.
"There clearly were failures to not do the thorough investigations that could have saved this child. But this was a failure of practice, not a failure of policy," said Palacio.
Nonetheless, failures cost the little boy his life.