Two former child welfare workers were indicted Wednesday in the death of a Brooklyn girl who was starved, beaten and drugged - the first such prosecution in city history.Predictably, the union boss accepts zero responsibility.
Despite numerous warning signs, Administration for Children's Services caseworker Damon Adams never visited the Bedford-Stuyvesant home where 4-year-old Marchella Brett-Pierce was found dead in September, prosecutors said.
Adams, 36, is also accused of falsifying records after the girl died weighing just 18 pounds. Chereece Bell, 34, the caseworker's direct supervisor, was charged with failing to monitor his work.
"To say there was no failure here would just defy logic and common sense," Judge Patricia DiMango said in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Wednesday.
Adams and Bell pleaded not guilty to charges of criminally negligent homicide, official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child.
Bell's bail was set at $25,000. Adams, who was hit with additional tampering and falsifying records charges, was ordered held on $35,000 bail.
"This child was wasting away," prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan said. Had the ACS workers done their job, "this child would have been removed" from the home, Kagan said.
Faye Moore, the head of the Social Service Employees Union, said ACS layoffs and program cuts have overburdened workers.They were so overburdened they never visited the home?
In a statement, ACS said the indictments "may have the opposite effect from what's intended because it may discourage excellent, idealistic individuals from taking" jobs as social workers.
This is now at least five children dead due to negligence. At some point incompetence and laziness should be recognized as a factor, not budget cuts.
Maybe the city should consider privatizing ACS.