Kids agency skips crime checks
Lucadamo, Kathleen. New York Daily News, March 26, 2008.
A BROOKLYN NONPROFIT paid by the city to help abused children didn't do criminal background checks on workers and couldn't prove caseworkers were doing their job, the city controller's office says.
The Child Development Support Corp., which gets more than $4 million from the city, failed to conduct criminal checks on 95% of its employees - even though its contract required them to, according to the controller's audit.
The organization provides services - including day care, job training and substance abuse programs - to 100 families in Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville.
Caseworkers at times didn't make required contact with the families and didn't "adequately monitor" the services clients were receiving, the audit claims.
Controller William Thompson blamed the city Administration for Children's Services, which oversees CDSC, for not keeping better tabs on child welfare agencies.
His findings come as ACS is relying more than ever on preventative programs to stop child abuse.
"If they [CDSC] are entrusted to help families keep children out of foster care, are they doing this job? Nobody knows," said Thompson. He urged ACS to "pay attention to those who are working for you."
ACS spokeswoman Sheila Stainback charged that Thompson used "largely old data" and said "CDSC has made marked improvement in recent months." The audit covered July 2005 to June 2007.
CDSC does complete extensive checks on their employees but didn't believe criminal background checks were required, said its executive director, Marcia Riddick.
Since the audit did not conduct its own background checks, it is not known whether any of the workers have a criminal background.