DHS meeting scheduled tonight - Philadelphia News

October 1, 2008 8:49:43 PM PDT
There were many concerns about the agency's future. The new DHS commissioner will faced some of those concerns at a town hall meeting. DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose's department has been under fire.

The town hall meeting was a chance for her to help rehabilitate its image.

The complaints were numerous among them poor accountability, too many bureaucratic hurdles, and simply poor communication from DHS staff.

Bernard Harkins came to the meeting looking for answers.

His grandson, Antonio, has been in 3 foster homes within the past year.

He claims Antonio has been abused.

He showed Action News photos of the young boy with two black eyes.

"He was basically used as a punching bag and I complained to DHS not the first time, but the third time," Harkins said.

DHS cannot talk about specific cases because of confidentiality laws.

But with Mayor Michael Nutter in attendance, Ambrose listened patiently to everyone who wanted to speak and promised better service from her department.

There will be 3 more town hall meetings before the end of the year.

Commissioner Ambrose says she isn't sure there will more meetings next year as she wants to see what kind of input she gets from these meetings and what kind of impact they have.

"As we move forward, we're really trying to embrace the model of family group decision making, which is honoring the voices of families and the planning process, to make sure kids stay in their homes whenever possible, but if there's a safety threat, DHS has a responsibility to remove those children and then try to get them back at soon as possible," Ambrose said.

The town hall meeting was the first since a scathing grand jury report was released detailing the death of Danieal Kelly.

The 14-year-old lived with her mother and nine brothers and sisters in a vermin infested row home.

Kelly, who suffered from cerebral palsy, weighed just 42 pounds when she died.

Her body was covered in bedsores.

Her last word was "water."

The case resulted in the firing of two administrators and the suspension of 7 others.

"As we move forward, we're really trying to embrace the model of family group decision making, which is honoring the voices of families and the planning process, to make sure kids stay in their homes whenever possible, but if there's a safety threat, DHS has a responsibility to remove those children and then try to get them back at soon as possible," Ambrose said.

Other scheduled meetings;

Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Beloved St. John Baptist Church, 4541 N. Broad Street

Thursday, October 30, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Lenfest PAL, 3890 N. 10th Street

Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Compassion Community Development Corporation, 6150 Cedar Avenue.

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.


Load Comments