There was a sickening coincidence yesterday: A report was released that faulted the city's Administration for Children's Services for contributing to the deaths of 10 children in families it was supposedly monitoring, just as a 20-month toddler was brutally beaten by her mother - who was under investigation by the ACS - and her mother's boyfriend.
Twenty-four-year-old Marlene Medina and 30-year-old Edwin Garcia allegedly repeatedly "slammed" Hailey Gonzalez into a pack-and-play crib, according to the Staten Island Advance. Medina also beat her daughter. The police say the child is "on the verge of death" and that doctors had to "remove a piece of her skull to relieve the swelling of her brain."
The child's biological father is in prison - for beating her earlier this year. Medina had missed an ACS appointment recently, and some feel this should have been a warning sign. During Medina's arraignment, it was revealed that she had asked detectives, "Am I going to jail? I'm going to lose my apartment. All my stuff is in the apartment."
The findings in the 141-report about ACS's actions include the fact that case workers would accept parents' claims at face value and would not investigate them, few case workers had training as investigators, reports were regularly falsified, and case workers visited non-English speaking families without translators. ACS Commissioner John Mattingly said, "As commissioner, it all rests on my shoulder... The mayor will let me know any time that he feels I'm not carrying out what I promised him I would do when I came in August of '04. And I will be here as long as he wants me." He also promised to hire 100 more investigators.