ACS to up stan­dards for kids in fos­ter care

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY ELLEN MOYNI­HAN

The city’s child wel­fare agency has iden­ti­fied more than 1,000 cases of abuse or ne­glect from con­trac­tors in its fos­ter care pro­gram in re­cent years — yet has still done lit­tle im­prove stan­dards to pro­tect fos­ter kids, ac­cord­ing to a new in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Depart­ment of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, the city’s watch­dog agency, found that 41% of fos­ter care providers who con­tracted with the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Chil­dren’s Ser­vices fell short of the fed­eral guide­line for mal­treat­ment in care in 2016, and the fol­low­ing year 86% fell short.

Ex­am­ples of mal­treat­ment in­cluded frac­tures, sex­ual abuse, burn­ing and scald­ing, and lac­er­a­tions, bruises, and welts, the re­port found.

ACS uses a “score­card” sys­tem to eval­u­ate the well­be­ing of fos­ter chil­dren and the qual­ity of care their guardians are pro­vid­ing.

DOI found that in cases where ACS ac­knowl­edged that care provider scores fell short of fed­eral guide­lines, it took up to two years for any ac­tion to be taken against care providers.

The watch­dog agency rec­om­mended that ACS im­ple­ment stricter safety mea­sures im­me­di­ately, start­ing with an emer­gency safety au­dit of the low­est scor­ers and re­port­ing the re­sults to DOI within 90 days.

The agency has also been re­quested to for­mu­late a score that will be “un­ac­cept­able” and a pro­to­col to fol­low when care providers fail to reach the min­i­mum.

ACS also agreed to re­lease its yearly find­ings on fos­ter care providers pub­licly.

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