Many New York children died last year while they were being monitored by the city’s Administration of Children’s Services.
More than half of the 75 children whose fatality reports were released in 2011 had at least three prior records of neglect or abuse, according to a report issued Saturday by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
“Children continue to fall through the cracks,” de Blasio said.
About 56 percent of the fatalities — 42 out of the 75 deaths — involved families with a record of three or more contacts with the child welfare system, according to the report. Four of the 75 families had 16 or more contacts with the Administration of Children’s Services.
De Blasio’s report comes six years after the tragic death of Nixzmary Brown, who died at the age of seven on Jan. 11, 2006.
Child welfare workers were aware that Brown was repeatedly beaten and bound with rope at home; nevertheless, she died at the hands of her stepfather. The case spurred reforms in the agency, but de Blasio said more needs to be done.
For example, he suggested that ACS do more to inform parents about hazardous sleeping arrangements. Of the 75 deaths, many included infants who suffocated. About 31 percent of the children who weren’t yet 1 year old suffocated, either while co-sleeping with an adult who rolled over them or in a crib cramped with pillows and stuffed animals.
De Blasio said ACS needs to employ a system that will trigger further assessments after multiple reports of abuse.
ACS spokesman Michael Fagan said the report repeats much of what they already know and are working on.
"Rather than a report such as this, it would be much more productive to come together with some new insights and innovative ideas to address the challenges that children and families face," he said.
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