Richard Buery, Children's Aid President and CEO, Responds to the Recent Indictment of Two Former ACS Staff

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I am deeply concerned by last week’s news of the criminal indictment of two former ACS child protective staff in connection with the horribly tragic death of four-year-old Marchella Pierce. There is no doubt that the allegations—failing to make home visits to a struggling family and falsifying case records—are very serious charges that deserve a strong response and meaningful consequences. Yet, treating these allegations as criminal is clearly unprecedented in New York. I worry about what impact doing so will have on New York City's ability to attract and retain talented staff to do the difficult and uncelebrated work of keeping New York City's most vulnerable children safe.

During the endless cycle of budget cuts these past few years, the Administration for Children's Services has seen its budget cut disproportionately when compared to the uniformed services. Make no mistake: although child protective workers do not wear uniforms, they are every bit as important to the safety of this City as New York City's bravest and finest. They do this work at great personal risk and for little pay. Ultimately, we must ensure that these indictments do not distract us from the need to reverse these systemic under-investments in the child welfare system. The children of our City will not be safe otherwise.

Ensuring the safety of the children we serve will remain at the forefront of The Children’s Aid Society’s work. Our hearts go out to Marchella.

Richard Buery
President and CEO
The Children's Aid Society

Follow Richard Buery on Twitter: @RichardBueryCAS