Of all the places of business that should be shredding documents, the Administration for Children's Services, which deals with very sensitive material about children and their families, should be shredding them. And yet the Daily News found 200 case files dumped on a streetcorner in Manhattan - totally in tact and in a "ripped, clear plastic garbage bag." The Daily News called one of the parents whose file was in the trash, and the mother said, "You found it on the street? You're kidding me! They just put it on the street and anybody could have come? Those people need to be sued for doing what they're doing." And here are some other cases that were left out on the street:
- An 11-year-old girl is quoted in explicit detail describing the sexual abuse she endured from her stepfather over the course of a year as her mother turned a blind eye.
- A 4-year-old boy was left home alone locked in a filthy, roach-infested bedroom for hours with only a bucket.
- An East Harlem mom punched her 2-year-old daughter in the head and hit her with a bottle. The little girl showed signs of former abuse, including a 6-inch scar across her chest.
The ACS apologized and said it was trying to find out what happened. The ACS tells the Daily News that "each floor of the agency's building is equipped with a locked shredding bin that staffers must use for disposing of files." The ACS's guess is that someone improperly cleaned out the files, which were from 2000-2001 (which should have been disposed in 2003) at the end of the week. We just hope these cases were properly followed up, too.
And apparently failing to destroy personal information is not illegal, if unethical.