Ex-ACS Worker Charged in Brooklyn Girl’s Death Speaks Out

CBS New York, March 29, 2011

The supervisor at the Administration for Children’s Services who was charged in connection with the death of a starved and beaten 4-year-old girl is speaking out.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chereece Bell said she asked her superiors to transfer caseworker Damon Adams out of her Brooklyn unit three months before Marchella Brett-Pierce died claiming that he couldn’t handle his workload.

Bell said she and her bosses also discussed taking Adams’ cases away from him but that didn’t happen. Adams’ lawyer tells the Journal he can’t confirm that.

Bell and Adams were charged with criminally negligent homicide–the first such prosecution of ACS case workers in New York City. {snip}

Adams was accused of never visiting Brett-Pierce who was beaten and weighed just 18 pounds when she died in September, and with falsifying records after her death.

Bell also faced charges for failing to monitor his work. {snip}

The little girl’s mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, was charged in November with second-degree murder. Her grandmother, Loretta Brett, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the high-profile case.

{snip}

social-workers

Chereece Bell (left) and Damon Adams.

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Anonymous

    The problem with Affirmative Action is once the workforce becomes all black/brown, there are no whites left to do the heavy lifting.

  • Anonymous

    Seems pretty harsh on the supervisor. Lets just say I have a friend who may have worked with ACS. The standard practice is that the workers have a list of children they are supposed to keep tabs on. If they don’t feel too motivated though they can always fill out a report which says they rang the bell three or four times and nobody was home, and then take the afternoon off.

    After this becomes readily obvious you can’t simply fire the workers, as they are all union members and have civil service protections so you have to go through a lengthy procedure, involving giving numerous warnings, then hearings where you have to prove the worker was not doing his job. Typically, this is time consuming and hard to do so often the city has to bribe the worker in the tens of thousands of dollars to “voluntarily” resign since actually firing anyone is virtually impossible.

  • Anonymous

    I am inclined to excuse state welfare workers. First, my impression is that they are tasked with a job that no one could ever want, or do very well. Second, lax social morals along with the depreciation of the intact family as a basic unit of social order, coupled with welfare (AFDC, Sec 8 etc.) encourages misfits to have kids at society’s expense. So, when kids are abused it now becomes the state’s responsibility. This is wrongheaded. We should bring back orphanages, and forget about allowing monster parents to keep their kids. Also, mandatory sterilization for these misfits.

  • Anonymous

    @3,

    All good ideas, especially sterilization to ensure eligibility for welfare of any kind.

    Security 101: you never let someone ‘maybe’ get hurt or taken out of play. You force them to self-identify or ‘positively declare’ their position and condition at specific intervals or locations.

    Fail to declare and the local guard commander assumes the ninjas gotcha and puts the whole place on alert as SOP.

    A similar approach, as a technology quick-fix, should be mandatory here as proof that _the parent_ is responsible in making sure that the child is in good health by reporting that condition as an affirmation rather than assumption.

    A single-use (only works on one phone number) cellphone with a 911 option and a digital camera, hardmounted to a wall and _illegal to sell or remove_ then becomes the case worker’s first line of defense in protecting a child that is otherwise at risk.

    Perhaps to be matched by a GPS ankle bracelet.

    This savagery went on for two entire months. During any portion of which a responsible teacher, neighbor, daycare attendant or passerby on the street could have reported the child’s dropping weight and beaten condition.

    EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT SHE WAS STRAPPED TO A BED!

    Since 90% of a case worker’s wasted manhours are in a car, driving from place to place, trying to track down their ‘clients’; it’s logical to ensure their time is more effectively spent by demanding that the parent be the one who adopts the responsibility for their own offspring and making a ‘three strikes your out!’ condition mandatory so that if any contiguous three (or more than 5 in a week) **failures** to _take a picture_ of the kid and have them say a few words over the open line as ‘positive declaration’ occur, the Case Worker has pictures of deteriorating health and a standard doctrinal requirement to knock down the door with SWAT if needbe.

    I have no real truck with black problems and certainly would not relish the prospect of another unwanted black child being supported by white welfare.

    But what was done to that kid is unforgiveable and cannot be let be.

    And so if we are not to simply close shop on ACS as a whole, we need to have a simplistic 1-2-3 replacement for intuitive persistence as personal initiative on the part of case workers, especially those whose AA ‘qualifications’ end at their skin.

  • Anonymous

    Child Protective Services, in every jurisdiction, has huge problems. These include problems with recruiting and retaining a qualified, motivated workforce to do a stressful and dangerous job when those hired to do the job are often able to transfer to other government jobs that pay more for less hassle. Another big issue is that CPS has God-like power combined with CIA secrecy. They always say that they have to protect the child’s privacy, even AFTER the child has died.

    If you are ever accused of child abuse/neglect, the CPS worker’s records are admitted in court as evidence under the business records exception to the hearsay exclusion rule. The business records rule is based on the idea that an employee who creates run-of-the-mill records in the ordinary course of business has no incentive to falsify the records. And yet CPS workers are well-known to falsify records to make themselves look more productive, and to maximize adoptions that get them bonuses.

    The CPS system also has perverse incentives that tend to keep the low-risk cases dragging on, while high-risk cases are more likely to be closed. Each CPS worker wants to manage his caseload so that he has as many children as possible who are not in any genuine danger, so that the caseworker can avoid being charged with manslaughter, or being fired, when something goes badly wrong. That’s why you see cases in which people have called the hotline 50 to 100 times to report horrendous abuse, and no case has ever been opened, because “no one was home when I rang the bell.” The CPS worker does NOT want to go into the housing projects, nor do they want to visit delapidated mobile homes surrounded by feral dogs way out in the countryside where their cell phones don’t work. Meanwhile, the working-class whites who spank their children in the Wal-Mart parking lot are at genuine risk of having their parental rights terminated due to the desire of CPS workers to keep low-risk cases in the system as long as possible. And white kids are more likely to be adopted after the parents’ rights are terminated, generating productivity bonuses for the caseworker, her manager, and the agency.