NY Children At Risk -- Stats Show "Dysfunction" at ACS, Says Comptroller

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ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion has announced her retirement

Disturbing new data in the initial findings of the New York City comptroller's investigation into the Administration for Children’s Services, begun after the tragic death of Zymere Perkins, have been released. The new numbers demonstrate how dysfunction occurs at ACS – and shed light on how children can slip through the cracks.

The Comptroller’s Office reviewed nearly 3,700 “high priority” investigations ACS conducted on complaints received during a three-month period between July and September 2016. Those investigations involved either a child’s death or at least four prior complaints of abuse or neglect in a child’s household, or both.

The Comptroller’s Office found the following violations of ACS protocols:

73 percent – or 2,360 cases – of the closed ACS investigations lacked the required minimum number of manager’s reviews, and 32 percent lacked the required number of supervisor’s reviews.

In 68 percent – or 2,516 cases – of both open and closed high-priority ACS investigations, a “Risk Assessment Profile” was not completed within 40 days.

53 investigations were closed without ACS investigators ever meeting with the child who was allegedly abused.

In 22 percent of the investigations, ACS investigators did not meet with the child within 24 hours of an abuse allegation.

In 26 percent of investigations, ACS investigators did not meet with the child the required number of times.

“Behind these percentages are vulnerable children who desperately need help. Behind these numbers, there are lives at stake. Right now, the City is failing them. We must continue to demand change. This is too important,” said Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller.

"The takeaway from these numbers is simple. Regulations are in place to save lives, but ACS is failing because it’s not following its own protocols. We need to see real, long-term change at this agency.”

In June 2016, Stringer released an audit of ACS, which found that incomplete and poorly supervised investigations put abused children at risk.

This follow-up investigation was announced following the death of Zymere Perkins. The Comptroller’s Office will continue to look into ACS’s performance of its child-protective investigative responsibilities in the coming months.

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