Trial opens for social workers in death of Danieal Kelly
Four former employees of a city-funded social-service agency will go on trial in federal court today on charges stemming from the death of Danieal Kelly, the 14-year-old with cerebral palsy who died in 2006 of starvation at her mother's apartment.
The now-defunct agency was supposed to provide care for the teen and other at-risk children with federal funds funneled through the city's Department of Human Services. But federal prosecutors charge that Michal Kamuvaka, who ran MultiEthnic Behavioral Health Inc., instead billed the city for services it never provided - including home visits that never happened - purportedly to care for the girl.
Last edited by Salem; 07-02-2011 at 01:10 PM.
I hope the pigs are charged with accessory to murder!!!
I can't say what I really hope!
let's pray this is justified, & ensure these people pay their dues.
I can think of a few other jurisdictions that had better be watching this outcome very very closely....
Come on, come on, set the precedent, set the precedent. Just set the dam precedent so we can start limiting the negligence and prosecuting those that won't admit that they are too burned out or overworked or apathetic to do the job.
ETA: Or too greedy, or evil...or insert your favorite adjective here.
Last edited by not_my_kids; 02-03-2010 at 01:12 PM.
JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.
One of my dearest and sweetest friends found out about this case and posted about it on her facebook page.
She is angry and heartbroken and I don't blame her. She asked me when this is going to stop and I don't know what to tell her.
When is this going to stop? Not in our lifetime I am afraid.
At least child abuse is down. That's something but one case is too many.
And L.A. County is no longer going to strive to reunite the family. Why in the name of God a court wouldn't put what is best for the child above the parent in the first place is beyond me.
These beautiful babies deserve a decent life.
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IMO The number one problem with child protection agency's, the way I see it...is confidentiality! It's too often misused to bury mistakes as opposed to protect the child. If family court were made public in CPS cases, there would be far more accountability.
And the whole "best interest of the child" is a load of crap too. CPS, DHS, or whatever it's called in each state has far too much authority and not enough accountability. individual case workers have the authority to pretty much do whatever they please and they and their supervisors stick together like velcro.
I've seen the very worst social workers actually promoted instead of being fired, when they clearly should have been fired.
Linda - I agree with all of that, except making the cases public. As a child of the foster care system, I could never condone the kind of pain that would cause.
JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.
If the public really knew what went on in the lives of thousands and thousands of children in this county, perhaps more good people would step up to the plate, maybe the laws on child abuse would get stiffer, maybe, just maybe, people would get half as sick to death as I am over it.
I just think children in the foster care system would get better treatment and care if people were watching. Too many times foster parents and biological parents abuse and injure children and NEVER have to answer for it. Sure parents may lose custody of their children, but while the child looses everything they have ever known, parents are free to skip away if they chose. The worst that usually happens to a abusive foster parent is they get their licence yank. Big deal!
"Nobody wanted this child to die" screamed the headlines in our newspapers.
Then we had to look at them all going in for the trial. One woman stopped to actually answer questions for reporters and every answer was "I can not comment without my attorney".
Are you kidding me? They started the cover up as soon as they found out this sweet, beautiful child had died. I've taken to switching the channel when I see them marching out of court for lunch.
And the cynical side of me says it wouldn't do any good. There are more than enough details of these crimes in the news everyday and rather than outrage and change the general public seems to become more numb to it everyday. And part of me sees dollar signs in the move to prosecute cps workers for negligence followed by damages while we ignore the parental responsibility of women who allow their boyfriend du jour to beat, torture and rape their kids. Can't sue mom for damages though so there will be no one motivated by dollars to pursue them.
CPS workers who fail at their jobs should be held responsible no doubt, but it is still ignoring the core issue. moo
We cant give them absolute authority with no accountability.
You know, that model is built into our court system as well-judges can rule basically with impunity because of the whole shades of grey area of the law. The SO here in MA who was out on bail for raping a child, and raped a three year old, beat her and then threatened to kill her mother springs to mind. The judge who set the bail is protected because bail is not a punishment-it is something used to assure the defendant's next court appearance. Hope the judge sleeps well at night.
But I digress-I wonder what would happen if CPS/DYS was run like a corporation? A certain amount of transparency, accountability-but more importantly, structured support for those who work within it? Rules, guidelines?
What if they were allowed to treat child abuse as if it were A&B? Then you couldnt run from state to state and avoid the paper trail....
Just trying to think of a fix....
But the workers need an outside source of support. An ability to take a file that they have a hinky feeling about, that needs more time than then their workload allows (the moms that pull their kids out of school and dodge in home visits, or the kid is asleep, or with dad at the visit time come to mind) and do something other than check the check box and move on.
No system will ever be perfect as we are trying to protect kids from their own parents which is just unnatural in and of itself
IMO, one of the core issues is "worker discretion". It's a dated and unsafe concept. One worker can see a sink full of overflowing dirty dishes and think, "That's disgusting and unsafe." Another worker can see the same thing and think, "I've seen a lot worse."
I think there have to be set rules and greater awareness of who is involved in the system besides just the social workers.
No more worker discretion.
No more judges who blindly agree with every recommendation of the CPS worker.
No more absolute power with minimum responsibility and
Full psychological histories and exams on each prospective worker to avoid the power seekers.
Maybe then things will change.
JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.
You could utilize doctors, mental health professionals, attorneys a
nd experienced foster parents (that have passed screening and commit to confidentiality) to review redflagged cases.
An elected official or someone working for him has personal interest in not disclosing to the public that the system is not working. Their motivation is usually cya and the political impact. The type of resource I am talking about wouldn't be to investigate cps (though their findings could be used by the appropriate people to improve cps) their purpose would be to intervene in cases that are going off in a ditch. The ones that everyone sees happening but they don't have the "right" data for the worksheet for the judge, or they have an evasive slippery parent that needs more resources than an overloaded case worker can handle.
Skilled CPS workers are a valuable resource and a limited one. Adding personal liablity to their plates when they have limited ability to intervene isn't going to attract more people to the field. It will just create a new type of professional liablity insurance policy for attorneys to pursue damages/dollars from. At the end of the day it will not protect children which is supposedly the goal.
And that does not even consider how future social workers basing decisions on a personal liability trial will handle parents who are victims of false reports.
Around here, all the CO does is point out when the system doesn't work....he gets paid for it.
The problem with a review board is still discretion, at whose discretion is a child in trouble?
A foster parent with minimal training? A review board of professionals, many of whom ae already corupt or self serving?
Nah, the same problems will happen.
Let's take away their Godlike power, bust the workers down to mere mortal status again, and see if the system we have would work if it were utilized properly. I feel it would, and at any rate, it will have to be tried before a new system is put in place or we would just return to this system later, saying that it would have worked if used correctly.
And I really think that a lot of money is going to the wrong place, paying workers bonuses for removing kids was an idea, that failed miserably...48% of the kids in Wayne Co. MI living with non parent family/foster parents on CPS orders. But that's a whole different thread.
JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.
I don't see social workers as being in some godlike role personally. I see their hands being tied by redtape and overruled by judges when they do manage to get the kids pulled. I have yet to see a case where a kid is pulled out of a home based on a social workers gut instinct and in absence of physical evidence, so I just don't see them as being very powerful.
In this case the thing that got me the worse is how Danieal's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit. They're both charged with criminal complaints, but they go and file a lawsuit.
Besides social services being charged there's also three family friend's being charged. According to our news when this all started they said the father almost never saw the child. I checked on our search here and I could have sworn I had a thread on this as soon as poor Danieal died.
Here's a link of our Mayor running his yap. I usually pay no mind to what he says because he's a maroon. At the end of the article he explains that in the end the burden should be on the parents as it was their responsibility. I'm guessing same thing for the friends who saw this poor child almost daily. That would include her being emaciated. Laying in her own excrement and whatever else goes along with such a horrific thing.
At the end of the day it was the child who paid the price-if your mayor is OK with that, well then glad he is not mine F!!!
I came from a neighborhood where you a** could be beaten by whatever parent caught you misbehaving, and then you could expect something worse from your own parents. OK, so not everyone could smack you but you could be chastised and/or punished....and then expect your parents would hear about it.
Why is the reverse not true? If your neighbor is beating his wife and kids, why can't you make a call? Not just me, of course but the collective we...why is that so bad I wonder? This stuff thrives in dark corners-why not shine a light?
In MA we proposed that when there was a call to DSS, that child had to be taken to a physician for an exam if the claim was physical/sexual abuse. I found out later that some of the case workers allow the parent/suspect to make an appt with their own physician within a certain amount of time.
People who actually do this job need to weigh in-what kind of time/effort would it take to bring these kids to a local ER for evaluation for a truly independent evaluation? The flip side is, how much would it save the state in terms of repeat visits for multiple complaints?
Here is another example-I know someone who has custody of his kids and an open complaint with DSS. He told me his children do not have a pediatrician, in spite of being covered with Mass Health. One is 10 and one is 6. How is this possible? WHY does no one know that these kids have not seen Dr's and dentists?? And they could-MA has great coverage from the state...especially for kids.
An expert in neglected and abused children testified in court yesterday after reviewing Danieal's medical records.
Cindy W. Christian who is a pediatrician said that the bed sores that poor Danieal had would have smelled so badly that it would knock a person back. So, obviously these "social workers" would have caught on to something besides the poor girl weighing only half of what she should have.
Warning reading the link will make you angry. It's so sad.
Girl’s death not a surprise to agency director
By Nathan Gorenstein
Posted on Tue, Feb. 16, 2010
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
On the day Manuelita Buenaflor learned that 14-year-old Danieal Kelly had died, the social service administrator with two doctorate degrees was sad, but unsurprised.
Buenaflor was the "quality assurance" director for the agency responsible for insuring the well-being of Kelly and hundreds of other children. But Buenaflor knew that the MultiEthnic Behavior Health Inc. workers regularly failed to make the home visits required by their contract with Philadelphia.
"In my heart I said it was just a matter of time before this would happen," Buenaflor sobbed today in U.S. District Court, "My reminders were ignored."
WTH???? She "reminded" someone w/ memos??