Washington mayor fires social workers in wake of child deaths
Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty says the city failed four children who were found dead in their home Jan. 9, and he vows not to let a similar failure happen in the future. Up to eight city employees who had contact with the children’s family will be terminated, and Fenty says the city will reopen every Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) case that was closed with a status of “incomplete.”
At a press conference Friday, Fenty said the family of Banita Jacks, the mother who is charged with the children’s deaths, had multiple contacts with social services since 2005 but were allowed to fall through the cracks. “While the loss of any life is tragic, this case is particularly devastating,” Fenty said. “We will not rest until we have done everything possible to make sure that policies and procedures are in place to make sure that something like this never happens again.”
Fenty said the terminations were necessary. “I felt it was critical to send a message to management as well as front line workers that our job is to ensure that children are protected, and that this should never happen again,” Fenty said in a statement Monday.
The four children, all girls ranging in age from 17 to 5, had not been to school since Jacks’ husband, Nathaniel Fogel, died in February. A police officer was sent to investigate their absence in April but reported that the children appeared healthy and were being home-schooled. CFSA eventually closed the case when they could no longer locate the family.