DHS announces massive ‘culture shift’

Khalil Wimes’ foster grandmother holds a photo of him.

In the wake of its most recent child welfare controversy with the death of 6-year-old Khalil Wimes, Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services told city lawmakers yesterday that it will completely overhaul the way it delivers services, with an emphasis on community support, an increase in accountability on all levels and a decrease in the size of the department itself.

“I think it’s about digging a little bit deeper and providing more quality services to families,” DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose said of the “Improving Outcomes for Children” initiative, based on similar efforts in New York and Florida. Ambrose’s testimony came at a budget hearing for the department.

Beginning this year, DHS will move from a dual case management system — consisting, in each case, of the department and a contracted social services provider — to a team model including the family, youth and service and local support networks comprised of over 150 stakeholders.

The announcement comes weeks after the death of Khalil Wimes, a six-year-old severely beaten by his biological parents who had only recently been reunited with him over the objections of his social worker and court-appointed advocate, which led to a call for a more nuanced case-by-case assessment in child custody placements.

While the department has denied any wrongdoing in the Wimes case, Ambrose said the new initiative revolutionizes the very structure that allowed for the oversights in what they are calling a “critical culture shift within the entire child welfare system in Philadelphia.”

Community members will be included in the very framework of child welfare through the use of Community Umbrella Agencies staffed by both city workers and local residents, which will soon oversee case management. DHS began using GIS mapping last year to identify areas beset by service gaps and is hoping that, after CUAs begin serving those areas, no more children will slip through them.

Another reset

This is not the first time DHS tried to overhaul itself following a tragic death. The 2006 death of Danieal Kelly, a disabled 14-year-old who starved as a city-contracted social work agency falsified home visits, sparked a cry for greater oversight of service providers.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

Local

Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.