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— 

 

BREAKING: Chaos fuels audit of NY election board

New York City Controller Scott Stringer has announced an audit of the NY Board of Elections after widespread complaints on primary day.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has announced an audit of the NY Board of Elections after widespread complaints on primary day.

By Carmen Glover

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced on primary day, April 19, that he will launch an audit of the Board of Elections and rid the agency of the dysfunction that has plagued the entity for decades. The audit, which Mayor Bill de Blasio said he supports, resulted from mounting tales of anger from numerous residents who were not allowed to vote in the hotly contested primary.

“These allegations are very serious and unfortunately in New York City this is nothing new. We have long accepted the Board of Elections’ incompetence and  over politicization of this process,” Stringer said. For his part, Board of Elections spokesman Michael Ryan said he would “cooperate with the audit.”

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launched a comprehensive mental health initiative today.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio supports Comptroller Scott Stringer’s audit of the Board of Elections. More than 126,000 residents of the mayor’s home borough of Brooklyn, were inexplicably struck from the voting rolls.

In Brooklyn, for instance, more than 126, 000 residents’ names were purged from the electoral rolls. Disenfranchised voters showed up at their voting sites only to be turned away. Some people complained that their names were stricken from the rolls without their permission. Still others complained that their party affiliation was switched from Democrat to “unaffiliated.”

To add insult to injury, many people showed up at voting sites only to be greeted with a comedy of chaos ranging from no ballots, to no workers, to broken machines, and of course their names being missing from the roster. Some people gave up on their quest to vote after waiting in line for hours while election staffers struggled to sort things out.

New York residents wait in long lines to vote.

New York residents wait in long lines to vote.

“The voting rolls in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of  entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists.These errors today indicate that additional major reforms will be needed to the Board of Election and in the state law governing it.”

For the mayor, a Brooklyn native, the primary day problems are personal since he lived there with his family before moving into Gracie Mansion, the office mayoral residence. The mayor has rented out the family home in Brooklyn. The borough is also the childhood home of Senator Bernie Sanders, who is challenging Former Secretary of State and Former Senator of New York Hillary Clinton for the chance to represent the Democratic Party in the November presidential election.

Many determined and scrappy New York voters trekked to their local Board of Elections office where they obtained court orders to take to their designated polling site in order to vote–OnPointPress.net-

 

 

Yankees, famous friends, honor Derek Jeter with his own special day

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was honored for his exemplary career on Sunday.

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was honored for his exemplary career on Sunday.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Sunday, September 7 was a busy sports day with the majority of the NFL regular season opening games, the women’s U.S. Open, and the WNBA Finals beginning. It was also Derek Jeter Day in the Bronx, with the New York Yankees hosting the Kansas City Royals in the closing weeks of the MLB regular season.

Jeter was surrounded by several big names in sports as he was honored on Sunday

Jeter was surrounded by several big names in sports as he was honored on Sunday

Jeter’s star-studded ceremony featured MLB Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr., Dave Winfield, and Joe Torre. Some of Jeter’s former Yankees teammates that were present were Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, David Cone, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera. Torre shared, “Somebody asked me to use one word to describe him, I said trustworthy.”

Jeter has been a fan favorite since he was called up to join the team in 1995.

Jeter has been a fan favorite since he was called up to join the team in 1995.

Jeter’s current teammates surprised him by not joining him on the field at the beginning of the game, allowing the Yankees Captain to have one last chance to be cheered by the fans before the game began. Jeter said of the gesture by his teammates, “My first thought was that I had run out there too early. I appreciate my teammates doing that for me.”

Michael Jordan applauded Jeter on a wonderful career.

Michael Jordan applauded Jeter on a wonderful career.

Perhaps the biggest star to attend the ceremony celebrating the captain was NBA Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who has been friends with the shortstop since they met in 1994. Jeter is also signed to Jordan’s brand. In his remarks about Jeter, Jordan said:

“Winning thrives on great leadership and he’s a great leader. Being in the city of New York where one little hiccup can basically fry your personality or your persona and this kid has done everything the right way.”

Derek Jeter pictured with his mother Dorothy (l), sister Sharlee (c) and father Charles (r).

Derek Jeter pictured with his mother Dorothy (l), sister Sharlee (c) and father Charles (r).

Among the gifts presented to Jeter during the ceremony were:
– A proclamation from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that Sunday Sept. 7, 2014 is Derek Jeter Day
– A Mettler G5 clinical massage therapy machine
– A framed and matted piece with patches from the 14 appearances Derek Jeter made to the All-Star game
– A 10-day trip to Tuscany
– A check for $222,222.22 for his Turn 2 Foundation
– A custom-made Waterford Crystal etched with Jeter’s final season logo

Jeter's Career statistics (through September 5, 2014): Batting average- .310 Hits - 3,448 Home runs - 259 Runs batted in (RBI) - 1,300 Stolen bases - 357

Jeter’s Career statistics (through September 5, 2014):
Batting average – .310
Hits – 3,448
Home runs – 259
Runs batted in (RBI) – 1,300
Stolen bases – 357

Yankees fans hope the team can overcome a rough season to send their captain off with a championship but that seems unlikely. After losing yesterday’s game to the Royals (2 – 0), the Yankees are now 9 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the division and 4 1/2 games out of the Wildcard to make the playoffs. No matter how the season ends, Yankees fans will always celebrate their captain, Derek Jeter.-OnPointPress.net-

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Grassroot efforts raise funds for New York City Public Libraries

New York Public Library received good news this year when they were informed that they would gain $10 million from New York City to help fund the free services the libraries provide.

New York Public Libraries received good news this year when they were informed that an extra $10 million was allocated  in the budget to help fund the free services the libraries provide.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On July 16, 2014, 130,000 petitioners and letter writers received thank you notices from the New York Public Library (NYPL). These grassroots efforts put forth by the NYPL were instrumental in securing the first budget increase since 2008. City Hall allocated  an additional $10 million for the 2015 fiscal year which began on July 1, 2014. The funding was set aside for the NYPL (which serves the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island), Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library. In a statement on the NYPL website, New York Public Library President Tony Marx stated:

This Brooklyn branch of the NYPL is one of the 92 total branches will be able to continue its normal operating hours with the addition of the funds to the budget.

This Brooklyn branch of the NYPL is one of the 92 total branches will be able to continue its normal operating hours with the addition of the funds to the budget.

“It is extremely satisfying that the Mayor and City Council see the value in the city’s libraries, and understand that New Yorkers desperately need the services that we provide, from internet access to technology training to job search resources to English language classes. The funding increase will certainly help us continue to provide free education, knowledge and opportunity to all New Yorkers. We are thankful to city officials for their dedication to and investment in libraries, a critical and irreplaceable city resource, and hope that this is a first step towards restoring our funding to Fiscal Year 2008 levels.”

New Yorkers of all ages benefit from the various services offered at the NYPL.

New Yorkers of all ages benefit from the various services offered at the New York City Public Libraries.

As summer vacation continues for the millions of New York City kids, it is useful to recognize the bevy of options that the New York City Public Libraries provide to keep children academically engaged throughout their time away from school. Many students use the library to complete summer reading lists and summer school assignments, or partake in the other amenities the library offers. The increased budget should allow the libraries of New York City to continue to offer a multitude of services to their patrons and online customers.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (l) and New York City listened to the 130,000 petitioners and letter writers who urged them to increase the city budget for the NYPL.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (l) and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito listened to the 130,000 petitioners and letter writers who urged them to increase the city budget for the NYPL.

The New York City Public Libraries offer traditional books, magazines and newspapers, as well as audio-books, e-books, DVD’s and video games. There are millions of people in New York City who take advantage of the free services offered. It is good that Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the New York City Council recognized the importance of helping these libraries extend their services to New York City’s citizens. However, the New York City Public Libraries depend on both public and private funding, so for those interested in learning more about how to support the library, visit nypl.org/support.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

New York’s week old paid sick leave law, good for business

Pio Cadaba

Pio Cadaba, a small business owner of a bar in Manhattan, sees the Sick Leave Act as beneficial to both employees and employers by ensuring the health of the workforce.

By: Onissa Sancho

The average full-time New York employee works between 35-40 hours a week within a 12-month period but until Mayor Bill de Blasio made paid sick leave mandatory, low income workers were not entitled to that basic work benefit.  The mayor, along with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico, announced the Earn Sick Time Act on April 1, 2014. The new law requires New York City employers to grant its employees sick leave to take care of themselves or a family member.

“Today marks a new beginning for many working New Yorkers who used to fear that asking for a sick day to take care of themselves or their family members would result in the loss of their income or even their jobs,” said New York’s 109th mayor on April 1, the first day the law took effect.

may

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is flanked by supporters after he signs the first law of his tenure, the Paid Sick Leave Law, which went into effect on April 1 and is now one week old.

Under this law, an employer who has five or more employees working 80-plus hour shifts within the year must provide one hour, regular hourly rate, no less than $8, of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The employee can accumulate up to 40 hours of paid sick leave during the year. The same dynamics apply to an employer with fewer than five employees, working 80-plus hour shifts a year, the only exception is its employees sick leave would be unpaid rather than paid. A domestic employee who works more than a year for the same employer must receive two days of paid sick leave. How can this law, which sounds ethical, affect the way businesses operate?

Pio Cadaba a small business owner of a bar located in Manhattan, doesn’t expect any side effects, instead, he sees the law as a net positive.

“This law will affect me very minimally, it doesn’t really hurt me. If it improves employee morale, I am all for It,” he said. “I think businesses should consider anything that can help its employees. You can have any business but the employees are the backbone.”

mayor

Supporters cheered and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio smiled after signing the Paid Sick Leave Law.

With five employees, the bar is opened Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 p.m-4:00 a.m. The flow of customers is just enough to allow Cadaba to schedule one employee to work weekdays. On the weekends, business picks up and two employees are scheduled to work. An assistant manager of a fashion retail giant in Queens, NY, who requested anonymity, had a different outlook from Cadaba.

“Such a law will benefit the employees, but the company will probably lose profit. I feel like the company is going to try its best to compensate the paid sick money in other ways, like charging more for merchandise, or cutting back employee working hours,” the manager said.

Mayor de Blasio and the DCA introduced the Earn Sick Time Act as much needed since a healthy employee is a happier employee and as Cadaba stated, a business cannot run without the labor of its employees. –OnPointPress.net.

Onissa Sancho is an intern at OnPointPress.net. Please follow her on Twitter @osjou222.