Recent NYC child homicides raise concerns

A young child looking at a window.
A young child looking at a window.
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Recent NYC child homicides raise concerns

Questions about the efficiency of the city’s child welfare agency have risen, after authorities were alerted to suspected child abuse but failed to prevent homicides from happening.
October 26, 2021

Toward the end of this summer, three New York City children were beaten to death, following a series of similar child homicides, in which authorities were alerted to abuse that they suffered prior to their deaths.

While this year’s number of child homicides is on par with the average number of homicides that have taken place over the past few years, recent reports have shed a light on the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, which acts as its child welfare agency, and its inability to prevent such deaths from happening.

Over the course of the past several weeks, city investigators have been looking into what went wrong with these cases and how investigators aligned with ACS could have intervened but were either too slow to respond or closed a case too soon, according to a new report from the The New York Times

The city agency has said that it will make an effort to improve how it handles similar cases in the future by keeping a closer eye on cases where child abuse has been reported and to improve coordination between the police and ACS. 

However, it can often be difficult to fully assess a case and the risk posed to children who may be facing abuse. On average, child welfare caseworkers are handling about 1,000 reports of abuse each week that can range from physical abuse to poor hygiene. It’s also hard to assess how severely a child is being abused or if they’re being abused at all. 

“Children are injured in accidents and get bruises – that same bruise if someone pushes the kid can be the same one if the kid trips,” Susan Morley, a children’s services official, told the Times.

There has also been a push in recent years to keep children from being separated from their families, which has made the agency prioritize keeping families together if possible. Still, families grieving the loss of children who have died at the hands of abuse are looking for better solutions and answers to this ongoing issue.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is the editor of NYN Media.
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