Why ACS will continue to fail while children die

Zymere Perkins, 6, was murdered after allegedly using a bucket as a toilet in an apartment that lacked basic amenities. His mother, Geraldine Perkins, 26 and her ex-con boyfriend, Rysheim Smith, were charged in his death, while others have come forward to report that they knew of the abuse the child sustained for years. According to reports, despite five reports to ACS against the mother, ACS dismissed all the reports as unfounded.

Zymere Perkins, 6, was murdered after allegedly using a bucket as a toilet in an apartment that lacked basic amenities. His mother, Geraldine Perkins, 26, and her ex-con boyfriend, Rysheim Smith, 42, were charged in his death, while others have come forward to report that they knew of the abuse the child sustained for years. According to reports, despite five reports made to ACS against the mother, ACS dismissed all the reports as unfounded.

By Carmen Glover

After work obligations caused me to be late more than once in picking up my daughter from after-school at her elementary Catholic school, I finally decided to resign from my high-profile job as press attaché at the Consulate General of Jamaica in New York.

The New York Daily News is not shy about assigning blame in Zymere Perkins' death.

The New York Daily News is not shy about assigning blame in Zymere Perkins’ death.

I immediately took my daughter on a one-month trip to Florida for fun in the sun, then worked as a full-time freelance journalist before deciding to try the social service field, which, despite a significant cut in salary, offered more stable hours. At one point during my hiatus from full-time journalism, I worked for an agency that was contracted with the Administration for Children’s Services, ACS, purportedly to protect vulnerable children and strengthen families that struggled with substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, educational, legal, financial and other challenges.

Zymere Perkin's mother, Geraldine Perkins and her ex-con boyfriend Rysheim Smith were arrested and charged in his murder.

Zymere Perkin’s mother, Geraldine Perkins and her ex-con boyfriend Rysheim Smith were arrested and charged in his murder.

What I saw, however, was quite the opposite. Arrogant and lazy ACS workers looked down on agency workers like me. They conducted haphazard investigations when reports of child abuse and neglect were made. Many of them did not visit the children’s schools, daycare centers or day treatment programs, instead hounding the agency workers for ‘updates’ and proceeding to admonish us when we had none to offer as yet. Most significantly, they staunchly blamed the agency workers when things went wrong, wrapping themselves into the cocoon that the ACS cover provided. The result was that children suffered and died.

I am grateful that in the nine years that I worked in the field no child died from my case load but other workers were not as fortunate. With each report of an innocent child dying at the hands of irresponsible, abusive parents such as the recent case of Zymere Perkins, 6, whose mother Geraldine Perkins, 26, and her ex-con boyfriend Rysheim Smith, 42, allegedly beat him often, my heart weeps, even as I know deep down that it will happen again.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio again expressing condolences and vowing to have committee look into the death.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio again expressing condolences and vowing to have committee look into the death as Zymere Perkins’ death puts the ineffective ACS back into the spotlight for another embarrassing failure.

I can recall countless joint home visits where the ACS staff arrived more than 30 minutes late, bossed us around, checked for food, barked out details about an upcoming conference and then left the home, arriving after I did and leaving before me, barely glancing at the children in the home, much less taking the time to conduct a comprehensive visit to ferret out any problems and zoom in on red flags.

They showed more interest in basking in titles rather than any genuine desire to keep the children safe. Their case notes and reports were sparse, oftentimes they plagiarized my notes. They lacked detailed knowledge about the families but, again, their focus seemed to be designed to belittle the agency workers while elevating themselves, showing scant regard for their innocent charges: the children.

ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion offers no solutions.

ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion offers no solutions as vulnerable children continue to die while inept ACS workers fail to catch the warning signs or respond effectively to reports of abuse and neglect.

At the other end of the spectrum were the parents, many of whom had numerous prior cases to the extent that having involvement with ACS and preventive agencies was a way of life. As soon as they signed up for services they began to ask for things: beds, money, food, Thanksgiving items and Christmas presents. It seemed like a quid pro quo: parents accepted preventive services to avoid a court case with ACS but all through the process the parents’ have one major goal and that is to get as many ‘free’ things as possible from the agency while pretending to agree that they need to change. As soon as the case is closed, they resume their dysfunctional lifestyles, often having another case opened after some time elapses.

Children were routinely told to lie to the workers and when a worker who had investigative background like I did as a journalist, supervisors often became jealous of the worker’s ability to connect the dots. In the meantime, the children suffered, because the agency workers did all the legwork while the ACS workers took the credit, were better paid and declined to provide thorough follow even through they were empowered to do so since they had stronger resources.

Zymere and a pal enjoy ice cream one happy day in his short sad life.

Zymere and a pal enjoy ice cream one happy day in his short sad life.

Then when a child died, City Hall unveiled a multitude of initiatives, uttered ineffective words of comfort until the publicity and furor lessened. Then the next child would die and the vicious cycle was repeated. But there will be no end in sight because there is no system in place to track families long-term after they have contact with ACS. Meanwhile, ACS workers are simply trying to shift the cases from their case load to that of the preventive agency so that they can move on to a new case. Nothing improves and children die.

Perhaps now that I am back to working full-time as a journalist, I can effect some change.–OnPointPress.net–

Mayor’s CUNY application fee waiver aids low-income students

Proud CUNY graduates.

Proud CUNY graduates joyously celebrate the culmination of years of hard work and grit.

The decision by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to waive the $65 fee for low-income students applying to the City University of New York (CUNY) is a good first step in the right direction.

When CUNY was first established, it was free and the institution has produced many scholars, Nobel Peace Prize winners, entrepreneurs, politicians and graduates who have excelled in every field imaginable. Over the years, CUNY’s fee structure has priced out the very population it was designed to help—low-income, immigrant, ambitious students who lack financial support.

CUNY-students-purposefully-stride-to-class-while-others-mill-around-to-socialize

While some CUNY students-purposefully stride to class, others mill around to socialize.

Flanked by CUNY representatives on Monday, September 26, Mayor de Blasio announced that low-income students, who come from a family of three, earning $37,000 or less per year, are eligible for the fee waiver.

“$65 matters,” to these families, the mayor said, adding, “This is something that we think is going to make a big difference.”

CUNY has produced notable graduates spanning every profession.

CUNY has produced notable graduates spanning every profession.

He is correct. Low-income students, including those who are homeless, products of the foster care system, or otherwise deemed to be at risk of falling through the cracks, should not be priced out of public colleges.

CUNY, the largest public university system in the country, enrolls a significant number of graduating high school students each year. By making it possible for low-income students to apply to CUNY, free of charge, the mayor is giving vulnerable students a chance to participate in higher education, which is a good first step towards a sold future.–OnPointPress.net— 

 

Co-op City’s 10/1 college fair features NASA speaker

college-fair

By Carmen Glover

Co-op City in the Bronx, New York City’s largest residential development housing more than 65,000 residents, is doing its part to make college and career information accessible to its residents. Longtime social worker and Co-op City board member Evelyn Turner is hosting an annual college and career fair on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Dreiser Auditorium, 177 Dreiser Loop, Bronx, NY, 10475. A guest speaker from NASA will address the attendees at 1:00 p.m.

Registration for students in grades three through six begins at 9:00 a.m. and those students will receive information and guidance between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Registration for students in grades seven through 12 begins at 11:30 a.m. and they will be seen from 12:30 p.m to 3;30 p.m.

For more information contact Evelyn Turner at 917-324-1033 or email: EvelynTinez@aol.com.–OnPointPress.net–

Jamaica’s AG, outstanding Manning’s alum, honored

Jamaica's AG Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte.

Jamaica’s Attorney General Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, Q.C., M.P. J.P., will be honored by the New York Chapter of her alma mater’s alumni association, the MPSA-NY, on October 12, 2016 at Eastwood Manor in the Bronx.

9/26/2016, NY: Jamaica’s Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, will be the guest of honor at the Manning’s Past Students’ Association New York Chapter’s (MPSA NY) 28th Anniversary Reunion Ball.

Manning's students will benefit from the proceeds of the fundraiser.

Manning’s students will benefit from the proceeds of the fundraiser.

“We are very thrilled that Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, a proud former head girl of Manning’s School, will be serving as our guest of honor,” said Kevin K.O. Sangster, Outgoing MPSA NY President.  “Having had a distinguished legal career at both the Bar and Bench and having contributed meaningfully to the governance process in Jamaica, the AG has a wealth of knowledge and insights that our attendees will find highly valuable.”

Outgoing MPSA-NY President Kevin K.O. Sangster, Esq. and the executive team, have worked tirelessly to organize the event.

Outgoing MPSA-NY President Kevin K.O. Sangster, Esq. and the executive team, have worked tirelessly to organize the event.

In what is expected to be a night of fun and revelry for a good cause, the ball will feature a Caribbean buffet with a little international flair, an open bar and music provided by DJ Andrew with Jugglaz International. The event will take place at 8:00 p.m., on Saturday, October 15 at Eastwood Manor, located at 3371 Eastchester Road in the Bronx, NY.

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An early bird rate of $85 per person is available until September 30, 2016 and $90 per person after that date.  Proceeds will benefit Manning’s School in Westmoreland, Jamaica.

The MPSA NY, over its 28-year history, has been an active source of support for the school, organizing numerous fundraisers and making significant donations to ensure that the school’s rich legacy of academic excellence will endure.

To purchase tickets for the events, please call Anton Tomlinson at 917-541-3348 or 718-287-9366.--OnPointPress.net–

Trudy Deans is Jamaica’s new Consul General to NY

 

Trudy Deans, newly appointed Consul General of Jamaica in New York.

Trudy Deans, newly appointed Consul General of Jamaica to New York.

Kingston, Sept. 25: Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, announced the appointment of Ms. Trudy Deans as consul general to New York on Friday, Sept. 23.

Ms. Deans, who holds a master of science degree in human resource management and training from the University of Leicester, England, and a bachelor of science degree in international relations and public administration from the University of the West Indies, was formerly the vice-consul and community relations officer at the Consulate General of Jamaica in New York from 2010 to 2012.

“Ms. Deans’ solid foundation in Diaspora engagement, together with her academic achievements and strong leadership and managerial skills augur well for this position, which comes with great responsibility. I congratulate her on this appointment, and have no doubt that she will effectively execute her mandate, contributing to the welfare of Jamaicans overseas and to the Government of Jamaica’s growth and development agenda,” said Minister Johnson Smith.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Deans was employed as an administrator at the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations Agency, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. She was responsible for staff located in Geneva and field offices in Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, the Americas, African region and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). She also contributed to Grace Kennedy’s legacy, as human resource and training manager at Allied Insurance Brokers Limited from 2002 to 2010.

A former member of the Geneva International Christian Choir and Orchestra and also an avid sports enthusiast, Ms. Deans will assume duties in New York, on October 1.–OnPointPress.net--.

 

‘Southside With You,’ captivatingly depicts the Obamas’ first date

Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers depict the Obamas in 'Southside With You.'

Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers depict the Obamas in ‘Southside With You.’

By Carmen Glover

With the paucity of movies depicting black love, ‘Southside With You,” an independent film which beautifully brings to life the first date of Michelle and Barack Obama, is as timely as it is inspirational. Parker Saywers resonates as Barack through spot-on mannerisms and Tika Sumpter, who is one of the producers shines as Michelle.

Set in Chicago’s south side, where the couple has roots, the film is written and directed by Richard Tanne, with singer John Legend serving as one of the executive producers.

In a scene from the movie, the first couple takes a walk on their first date.

In a scene from the movie, the eventual  first couple takes a walk on their first date.

In a running time of one hour and twenty-four minutes, the film captures the nuances of the couple’s different backgrounds, education, family and work lives as well as what pushes them to excel. The move fills in images from the first couples’ various recounting of several aspects of their first date. However, the dialogue is developed from the screenwriter’s imagination, since he obviously was not on the date with the couple.

Nonetheless, the film is a satisfying, charming portrayal of two attractive, educated, driven black professionals who took a chance and eventually re-wrote history. Treat yourself to this movie, you won’t regret it!--OnPointPress.net–

Happy 54th Independence Day Jamaica!

Jamaican track stars Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Jamaican track stars Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are currently in Rio, Brazil, representing the island in the summer olympics.

Jamaica, the tiny, enchanting island in the West Indies that beckons to visitors and nationals every day, celebrates 54 years of independence today.

The Jamaican Flag.

The Jamaican Flag.

Thank you Jamaica, for emphasizing faith, family, education and one love. Yes, out of many, we are one. Happy birthday Jamaica!—OnPointPress.net–