The city’s child welfare agency is slow to ensure that foster care contractors fix identified safety concerns despite more than 1,000 cases of abuse or neglect in the program over the past two years, according to a new probe.
The Department of Investigation criticized the Administration for children’s Services for ignoring its own analysis of how the private providers were caring for the roughly 8,500 kids in foster care, leaving kids in the hands of providers with known issues.
“ACS is responsible for the safety of nearly 8,500 New York City children in foster care – it has to get this process right,” said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters. “ACS’ failure to properly oversee foster care providers, some with significant safety concerns, must be addressed.”
The probe identified 479 cases of maltreatment of kids in foster care in fiscal 2016, and 599 in 2017.
Investigators noted that most of those incidents occurred when kids visited their parents on a single or trial basis — rather than in the foster home —but it still means they were in ACS custody.
ACS officials said the data is outdated, and that 4 of the 10 providers identified with issues are now near the top in terms of safety.
“We are raising safety standards across the board. We plan to rebid our entire foster care system with stringent new standards and there will be providers that may not make the cut,” said ACS spokeswoman Marisa Kaufman.
“Between now and then, any provider that’s not meeting our standards and fails to show significant improvement will face tough measures up to and including termination of contract.”
Peters gave ACS credit for agreeing with or already implementing all 12 of his office’s recommendations, including conducting an emergency safety audit of the lowest-rated providers.