This is an older story that I saved to my computer on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, 4:06:50 PM. I thought I would post it due the the charges that have been pressed in the Danieal Kelly case, because I don’t think people realize the extreme failures of this department.
Danieal’s death was a result of the complete and utter failure of the people in place to protect her. Their laziness, incompetence, criminal negligence and straight up lack of caring is the reason she is dead!!!! The only person that these social workers cared about was themselves, as shown by their behavior after her death!!!! I still believe the charges against these “serial killers”, (for wouldn’t that be the term used for anyone other then a CPS worker who was responsible for the deaths of this many children? )…are not enough.
Bear in mind, these are just the case we hear about!!!!
Ronnie Polaneczky: What does it take to get fired at DHS?
By Ronnie Polaneczky
Philadelphia Daily News
Daily News Columnist
MAYBE, WHEN IT comes to firing employees, the Department of Human Services had a “three-dead-kids-you’re-out” policy.
Why else has social worker Dana Poindexter continued to draw a paycheck from DHS, despite the department’s knowledge that his inaction was a glaring factor in two cases where children died?
What were they waiting for – a third little one to perish?
By now, we all know about one of the tortured souls whose demise happened on the watch of Poindexter, a 17-year DHS veteran. The district attorney’s grand-jury report, released last week, details Poindexter’s sustained failure to protect 14-year-old Danieal Kelly from her parents, who it says starved and neglected her to death.
Poindexter alone didn’t doom Danieal, whose cerebral palsy made her all the more vulnerable to abuse. The grand jury alleges that others at DHS and its contracted agency, Multi-Ethnic Behavioral Health, so neglected Danieal that criminal charges are justified.
But Poindexter’s recklessness was so well known to higher-ups, it begs the question: What does it take to get fired at DHS?
Poindexter’s personnel records, revealed in the grand jury report, showed that just prior to being assigned the Kelly case, he never bothered to follow through on the assessment of another at-risk family. Three months later, a three-week-old baby born to a 14-year-old girl in that household had died.
As a result, DHS suspended Poindexter for 10 days for placing children at risk.
Alba Martinez, former DHS commissioner, wrote to Poindexter that the case “tragically illustrates how important our prompt and responsive involvement is to our City’s children . . . As I previously advised you, continued failure to provide timely services or otherwise follow departmental policy or supervisory instruction will result in additional discipline up to and including termination of your employment.”
Mind you, this wasn’t a case where a child died despite a noble DHS worker’s best efforts; Poindexter barely twitched a muscle on behalf of children he was supposed to protect.
He was suspended twice more, and his personnel file notes how a supervisor excoriated him for continuing “to fail to close and/or transfer cases in a timely manner and this puts children at risk . . . This failure to move your cases deprives children and families of the services that they desperately need.”
I’ve reviewed the DHS cumbersome employee-termination procedures, and they’re eye-numbing. Some at DHS will say that the process is so ponderous, it’s impossible to fire an employee.
It’s not impossible. It’s just not easy.
Had the culture at DHS been one that truly placed the safety of children above the sanctity of employment, Danieal Kelly might’ve gotten free of her vile parents. Instead, Poindexter remained her reckless point man until her death in August 2006.
Astonishingly, that still wasn’t enough for DHS to show him the door. He wasn’t even suspended – with pay – until last week’s grand-jury report brought the outrageousness of his ongoing employment to public attention.
That’s why it’s hard to believe that “the DHS of 2008 is not the DHS of 2006,” as an emotional Mayor Nutter ( love the name) said during a press conference yesterday announcing the suspensions of seven more DHS employees connected to the Kelly case.
That it took a grand-jury report to bring about even that half-assed a result is indicative of just how much the DHS of August 2008 is still too much like the DHS of August 2006.
The revamped policies, the new procedures, the renewed commitment to accountability won’t mean a blessed thing if DHS doesn’t figure out how to swiftly terminate employees whose only commitment is to their paychecks.
The grand-jury report showed how focused the normally lazy, lying DHS and Multi-Ethnic employees could become, once they thought their livelihoods were at stake. They wanted their jobs enough to forge documents, or to lie under oath about all they did and didn’t do, know and didn’t know.
Saving their hides became important to them in a way that saving Danieal never had.
Might any of them have done more to protect her had there been a policy at DHS of firing people for incompetence?
In other words, real, job-ending consequences.
The kind of consequences that good DHS employees will never know.
That middling ones need to know about so they’ll up their game.
And that bad ones must suffer so that innocents like Danieal Kelly will never suffer so horribly again. *
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