Another Child In ACS’s Care Is Dead

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Where was the boy at the time of the death? Was he under adult supervision? On what basis was the death ruled an “accident”? Certainly the parents are entitled to answers to all these questions.

[On The Spot]

A nine-year-old boy in the care of the Administration for Child Services (ACS), the New York agency, has died, The Black Star News has learned from sources.

ACS, which normally does not disclose such news, confirmed the child’s death when this columnist called the agency. “How did you find out?” a spokesperson asked.

The boy died last Sunday on Riverhead, Long Island.  The Black Star News is withholding the boy’s name since he’s a minor. The Family Court entrusted the child’s care to St. Vincent’s Services for Children located in Brooklyn, New York, where he and other members of his family were removed from their home – then placed in a foster home.  The child was not with the original foster parent, who was away on vacation when he died. 

Both agencies involved were tight-lipped and refused to provide details, citing confidentiality issues, when asked why the boy was in foster care in the first place.

The authorities did not inform the mother of her son's death for two days, The Black Star News has learned.

St. Vincent made it very clear ACS was answering all questions pertaining to the boy’s death.  “I have been told by the Administration for Children Services that because a fatality was involved they would prefer to be the spokespersons.  We basically are letting them handle the whole thing,” said Mary-Louise Morgan, spokesperson for St. Vincent’s.

It is the worst fear just about every parent has when their child is taken from their custody; that the child ends up abused, injured, or as in this case, dead.

“Everyone involved with these children has been deeply affected by this tragic accident,” ACS spokesperson Sheila Stainback, said, which is of course small comfort to the parents.

“We at NYC Children's Services especially wish to express our sincere condolences to the families involved.  Authorities have ruled the child’s death an accident and no charges have been filed against the driver of the car.  We are providing crisis and bereavement counseling for the family, and we are working to ensure the safety and well-being of the surviving sibling.”

It’s only through these comments that this columnist learned that the death had apparently been caused by an automobile, which raises many other questions.

Where was the boy at the time of the death? Was he struck by a vehicle? Was he a passenger? Was he under adult supervision? On what basis was the death ruled an “accident”? Was the driver tested for alcohol level? Certainly the parents are entitled to answers to all these questions.

The Riverhead Police Department did not return my call, seeking more information about the boy’s death, before publication time.

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