Harlem New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and General Welfare Committee Chair Stephen Levin announced today that on October 31st the City Council will conduct an oversight hearing examining how the City responds to allegations of child abuse and neglect. After numerous overhauls of ACS over the years, and in the wake of the recent death of six year old Zymere Perkins, the hearing will examine how policies and procedures at ACS affect the investigation of alleged abuse and neglect cases. The hearing will also assess how other City agencies like the Department of Education, the Department of Homeless Services, the New York City Police Department and others are supposed to work together to investigate and serve at-risk children and families.
Speaker Mark-Viverito said: “One of our top priorities as a City must be keeping our children safe and this hearing will examine just how effective a job the City is doing to protect those who are most vulnerable. Council Member Levin has been a dogged chair of the General Welfare Committee and I know the hearing will be informative and productive.”
“We must do everything in our power to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for all our City’s children,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the Committee on General Welfare. “The Committee plans to comprehensively examine the many touchpoints at which a vulnerable family may interact with City agencies and the efficacy of procedures initiated following allegations of child abuse and neglect. Through this hearing, we will better understand the circumstances around the heartbreaking death of Zymere Perkins, as well as broader systemic challenges to investigating allegations of abuse and neglect. I hope this hearing will lay the groundwork for policy that will better protect vulnerable children and prevent future tragedies.”
The Council’s General Welfare Committee will:
- Review processes and procedures in place at ACS and other City agencies designed to ensure appropriate and thorough investigations into allegations of abuse and neglect
- Identify gaps between policies and practices
- Look into the effect of the $58 million budget increase beginning in FY16 for child protective services personnel
- Analyze various data trends, including the fact that child protective case managers’ ratios has increased from 8.7 in FY12 to 10.6 in FY16, despite the significant funding increase
- Examine the findings in the May 2016 Department of Investigation report and the status of the suggested reforms
Please check back for updates regarding this matter.