Comptroller Scott Stringer issues scathing ACS report; City fires back

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Stacey Sager has the story

Following the tragic death of 6-year-old Zymere Perkins, a new report released Thursday by the New York City Comptroller's office found the Administration for Children's Services did not follow its own protocols in thousands of high-priority cases.

The report reviewed nearly 3,700 cases ACS investigated on complaints received from July to September of this year. Comptroller Scott Stringer said more than 70 percent of the cases closed lacked the required minimum number of manager reviews, and of those same cases, almost a third lacked the required number of supervisor reviews.

In almost a quarter of the investigations, the report said ACS investigators did not meet with the child within 24 hours of an abuse allegation. And in 53 cases, the investigation was closed without ACS investigators ever meeting with the victim.

"Behind these percentages are vulnerable children who desperately need help," Stringer said. "Right now, the city is failing them."

Stringer's investigation, announced after Perkins' death, is a follow-up to a June 2016 audit that found ACS conducted "inconsistent, incomplete and shoddy" investigations into child abuse.

This comes two weeks after ACS commissioner Gladys Carrion announced her resignation, calling Perkins' death her responsibility.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's office shot back at the report.

"It's no surprise that ACS data was cherry-picked to support a simplified and largely inaccurate conclusion," spokesperson Aja Worthy-Davis said. "This report contains many inaccuracies such as a base misunderstanding of child protective review protocols and legal rules regarding risk-assessment."

Some of those inaccuracies were pointed out by ACS officials. The comptroller's report identifies 38 fatalities, but data ACS provided to the Comptroller's Office cited a total of 33 fatalities reported to the Statewide Central Register.

"Child safety is the number one priority for the Administration for Children's Services," an ACS spokesperson said. "The de Blasio Administration continues to invest resources and support to ensure that we are able to protect every child that comes to our attention."

Mayor de Blasio has called Perkins' death "an unacceptable tragedy" and immediately called for new reforms. In addition to the child safety reforms announced recently, ACS is hiring an additional 350 child protective specialists in the next six months.

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