Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Face of Evil

These are the responses to my August 1st article, "Queen of Child Abuse Did it For the Money That Came From Us.", please continue to provide us with your feedback

13 comments:

  1. QUOTATION: "If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble,. "the law is a ass-a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience-by experience." ATTRIBUTION: CHARLES DICKENS, Oliver Twist, chapter 51, p. 489 (1970). First published serially 1837-1839.

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  2. ALLEN BORTNICK12:40 PM

    HELLO HENRY

    THANX FOR THE HEADS-UP.

    YOUR ARTICLE SHOULD HAVE HAD THE LAST 2 SENTENCES A LOT NEARER THE TOP OF THE STORY, ESPECIALLY THE LAST SENTENCE. AS IS ALMOST ALWAYS THE CASE, THE PEOPLE WORKING IN THE AGENCIES ARE FIRST AND FOREMOST, ONLY THERE FOR A PAYCHECK, AND IF THEY CAN PRODUCE OR PASS ON LOTS OF PAPERWORK, THEY THINK THEY ARE FUNCTIONING.

    WHAT IS SO DESPERATELY NEEDED, IS A G.A.O. TYPE OF A PERMANENT WATCH-DOG GROUP, TO LOOK AT EACH AGENCY BUDGET AND HOW IT FUNCTIONS AND THUS PROVIDE OVERSIGHT OF THE PERSONS AND THE ACTUAL FUNCTIONS FOR EACH AGENCY. UNTIL THIS HAPPENS, WE WILL HAVE ENDLESS CORRUPTION AND MIS-MANAGEMENT ON A DAILY BASIS.

    THE COMPTROLLER, [IN THIS CASE BILLY THOMPSON], FINALLY TRIED IT, WHEN HE DECIDED TO ANNOUNCE HIS INTENTIONS TO BE OUR NEXT MAYOR, AND IN A FLASH OF BRILLIANCE, ATTACKED THE MTA, EARLIER THIS YEAR. A BIT LATE, AND GOING AFTER A PROVEN GROUP OF LIARS, IS NOT REALLY A SHOT ACROSS ANYBODY'S BOW.

    WHAT WE NEED, IS A MEETING WITH BLOOMBERG AND SOME OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS. WITH THE TWO OF US LEADING THE WAY, WE CAN TRY TO GET A CITY SUPERVISORY AND OVERSIGHT GROUP CREATED, TO REALLY START UNRAVELING THE BLANK CHECK BUDGET MENTALITY BASED ON AGENCIES JUST PRODUCING PAPERWORK IN SUCH LARGE AMOUNTS, THAT NOBODY CHECKS ANYTHING BUT THE SIGNATURES ON THE LAST PAGE.

    LET'S NOT JUST ANY LONGER SIT ON THE SIDELINES MAKING COMMENTARIES ON 'FAIT ACCOMPLI', LET'S TRY TO DO SOMETHING FOR A CONSTRUCTIVE FUTURE IN CITY GOVERNMENT THAT WILL MEAN PROGRESS FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF ALL. IT MAKES SENSE AND PERHAPS ITS TIME IS HERE.

    ARE YOU UP TO THIS, AND IF SO, CAN WE MEET, PUT TOGETHER A WORKABLE PLAN AND PRESENT IT TO THAT ERSTWILE GROUP, IN THE HOPES OF SEEING IT HAPPEN ? PLEASE GIVE THIS SOME THOUGHT AND GET BACK TO ME AT YOUR CONVENIENCE.

    AS ALWAYS, THE BEST TO YOU. REGARDLESS, KEEP ON PUNCHING AWAY.

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  3. Why does it supprise you that someone has taken advantage of the system. There are thousands of people who take adavantage every day of the system. They go unpunished because of the lack of competent workers that the New York City and Stae Employ.(Liberals) Our local/national politicians act the same way. Do it until we get caught? If one case like this exists how many more victimsdo you think are out there? My answer Countless.

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  5. Dear Mr. Stern,
    Another possible way to catch offenders like this: Anyone who wants to adopt a child should have to submit to fingerprinting that would go into a nationwide database (not unlike Oprah's Law, for those who merely work with children in some after-school programs!); then, if someone applies to adopt a second, third, etc. child, even if from a different agency and under a different name, this will become immediately evident! And even if the person is applying under the same name, and therefore it isn't immediately apparent that he/she is a monster, anyone applying for a second, third, etc. adoption should get at least one home visit to check on his/her parenting qualifications based on the care in evidence of the child/children already there.
    Sincerely,

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  6. As an adoptee myself, these types of stories tend to infuriate me. Both as a reaction to the alleged conduct of the arrested woman who took the system and turned it into her own version of an ATM (Adoption Teller Machine), but I get even more frustrated that in this day and age, decades after Joel Steinberg was incarcerated and other childrens abuse revealed by a muckraking media that would make Sinclair Lewis proud, the ongoing bureaucratic inertia is mind boggling.

    We've got tons of newsprint, hundreds of pages of documents, and tens of thousands of NYS taxpayer dollars to follow the scent of the GOVERNOR'S HUBRIS MEETS JOE BRUNOS OWN FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM, while children slip through the cracks of a continually flawed system.

    If two 80 year olds can navigate a ten year old Buick from NYC to Florida each winter, you'd think that a NYC bureaucracy could, with its more infinite resources than Leon and Eleanor, track such conduct and offenders from the Empire State to the Sunshine State.

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  7. Hi: Children are our most important asset and deserve treatment commensurate with their importance. Northside

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  8. If public schools fail our kids, child agencies are even worse - they get them abused or killed.
    Even the much admired NYC guy Mattingly - who made his rep as a foundation exec giving money to help stop the abuse - is powerless to make anything more than tiny gains, which crumble under a case like the present one. These agencies fail for several reasons: the system easily develops cracks
    larger than the ones on that poor bridge in Minn.; the field people are not rocket scientists to begin with and their training and supervision is minimal (cashiers get more training and they need the machines to add and subtract for them); fundamental, life-saving change in what exists is furiously resisted by all concerned - even when the State(s) mandate and pay for rigorous change. What's sad is that the results keep coming and the public and media clucks and clucks and then turns its attention to something else... Veblen's warning remains true: when those in an institution care more about their own concerns than those they are supposed to serve, the institution fails.

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  10. Henry,

    To play on words. You said "that came from us" Well, one could interpret that as meaning the philosophy of cheating came from us. It is our society that sets up the possibility of things like this happening. There are not enough checks and security to prevent this kind of tragedy. I worked in the system for thirty three years and rules and regulations and follow-up inspections are lax.

    Have a good weekend,
    John

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  11. Martin Hassner1:56 PM

    Interestingly New York City, and the States of New Jersey and Connecticut
    have had some of the most serious and pervasive problems. Governors Rell
    and Corzine have tried to make changes but the resistance remains in place
    in those states.

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  12. Why should this surprise anyone? Our government not only endorses, but funds
    abortion. This country does not value life.

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  13. Commissioner Stern,

    I do a fair amount of child abuse work as part of my profession. You have correctly pointed out that there was no direct failure on the part of ACS, but use of this wording implies there was an indirect failure. While there are clearly loopholes here that need to be closed, ACS is quite right that once the Family Court finalizes an adoption, ACS does not retain jurisdiction unless there are further reports of abuse. Indeed, while a finger is indirectly pointed at ACS, there is nary a word about the child protective services in Florida. Where were these agencies when all this was going down? One might wonder in fact if part of the reason the family moved was because of the increasing scrutiny that we in New York are requiring by ACS! I am certainly not privy to all the facts in this case. If there was shoddy staff work on the part of ACS or its predecessors, I am sure that Commissioner Mattingly would be the first to want it to see the light of day...which is precisely why ACS itself broke the story. You do correctly point his out at the bottom of the blog, but unfortunately the rest of the blog seems to imply that there was something that ACS could have done or should have done, when in fact they are required to follow strict rules made by the very legislators you rightly insist must be asked to save the children! I do not need to remind you that there is a very strong tradition in our state with respect to civil liberties, and a person who is vetted as a potential adoptive parent...initially, in this case, more than thirty years ago, and twenty years before ACS even came into existence...once approved is immune from "over the shoulder" surveillance by child protective services. Perhaps this should be changed. But it is not ACS that can do this. Given the strict regulation of child welfare in this state, it can only be changed by the legislature itself...which typically gives the executive branch rather less latitude in terms of child abuse regulations than it does for other agencies of state government.
    None of the above, of course, is to say that any system that would allow such a thing to happen as happened in Florida should not be changed as quickly as possible. Indeed, it must! Still, I am not sure that appointing yet another oversight panel is what is needed to ensure this does not happen again. What IS needed is to allow ACS sufficient time...weeks, not months...to try to determine, within the framework of fairly inflexible privacy laws, if indeed there are other similar cases, then allow their legal eagles to propose a solution that works for ACS, the Family Court, and the City, all of which bear a responsibility to decide how best to correct this problem. Once this has been done, and a solution proposed, that is the time to call upon the Governor to bring the legislature back to Albany to consider the proposed legislation. ACS is an outstanding agency doing a truly outstanding job on an horrific and historic problem...historic in the sense that child abuse has existed as long as the human race has existed...under enormous public pressure. I personally have tremendous confidence both in Commissioner Mattingly and his executive staff, and in what has happened within ACS over the past few years under his leadership, and that of Zeinab Chahine, departing Executive Deputy Commissioner, two of the finest public officials ever to serve the people of this great City. ACS needs all of our support as it continues to address these terrible problems that tragically have gone unsolved literally for millenia, as well as tremendous praise for the problems that have NOT arisen because of its work.

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