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NEWS
August 8, 2006
Reported glitches in implementing a long-awaited computer system to track child-welfare cases raises questions about how effectively a machine can monitor vulnerable and potentially volatile families. A properly functioning computer system is an important tool in managing routine and even difficult foster-care cases, but it's no substitute for conscientious case management by well-trained and well-supervised caseworkers. Maryland's child welfare system has been trying to do a better job of keeping up with nearly 10,000 foster children under its jurisdiction.
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NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | December 29, 2011
Baltimore police have made an arrest in the killing of a 50-year-old man whose body was set on fire in April, and court documents appear to indicate an effort by the Police Department to be more deliberate in building cases. Eugene Emmett Bates, 36, was indicted last week and charged in the death of Elmore Rembert, who police say was killed during an argument as the pair used drugs in a vacant home in the Booth-Boyd neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore. Bates is accused of setting the house on fire and stealing Rembert's truck.
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NEWS
By Ginger Thompson | June 19, 1991
Although physical assaults like the one that took the life of a Baltimore welfare worker yesterday are rare, social services officials and union representatives say the 2,600 employees in Baltimore's Department of Social Services face a growing number of threats, verbal abuse and angry clients."
NEWS
By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun | February 20, 2011
Patricia Anne Dziewit, a retired social worker, died of leukemia Feb. 7 at Carroll County Hospital Center. She was 70 and lived in Westminster. Born in York, Pa., and raised in Reservoir Hill and Hamilton, she attended Corpus Christi School and was a 1958 Catholic High School graduate. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art . Family members said she was born with physical disabilities and walked with the aid of prosthetic devices. She had numerous surgeries.
NEWS
April 29, 2008
Baltimore's Department of Social Services continues to lurch from one crisis case to the next with caseworkers and supervisors who are undertrained and overworked. State and city officials are taking some sensible steps to attract more - and more-qualified - workers. But conditions also have to improve to make these jobs more desirable, and the state and city need to consider these improvements a more urgent financial priority. DSS is responsible for 60 percent of Maryland's 10,000 children in foster care, and some of the more sensational and tragic cases of abuse and neglect have occurred under its watch.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | December 10, 1999
A new report by advocates for welfare recipients says city social workers have fallen down on the job of helping many of their clients get ready for the work force -- at a time when state officials are considering reducing the number of Baltimore caseworkers nearly 25 percent.The report, by the Family Investment Program Legal Clinic, which provides free legal help to thousands of welfare recipients, urges legislators to lift the limit of five years' cash assistance for welfare clients who might not have gotten the help they need in Baltimore since welfare reform began four years ago.The report says some Baltimore workers, who handle an average 175 files each at any one time, don't know how to help recipients with criminal records get charges expunged so they'll be more employable.
NEWS
By Holly Selby and Holly Selby,Staff Writer | July 24, 1993
Karen Feldman helps people with AIDS obtain food stamps, find housing, apply for financial assistance and make doctor's appointments.Now the case manager at Baltimore's Health Education Resource Organization (HERO) finds herself telling people that she no longer can assist them."No more appointments?" asks one homeless man visiting her office."Not for now," Ms. Feldman says. She gives him a hug and arms him with a letter to help ease his way through the bureaucracy of city agencies.Until last month, HERO, a nonprofit agency, offered referrals and support of many kinds -- financial,emotional, administrative -- to anyone who tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
NEWS
April 1, 1998
LAST MONTH, another Maryland child who had been under social services investigation died, allegedly beaten to death by his foster mother.It is too soon to know whether anything could have been done to save this child. But cases like this and the starvation death of 9-year-old Rita Fisher in Baltimore County last year have prompted action in Annapolis to make it harder for children to fall through cracks in the system designed to protect them.On Saturday, legislation passed in Maryland's House of Delegates that would help resolve the two biggest obstacles to an effective child welfare system: excessive caseloads and a transitory, inadequately trained staff.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton and Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF | December 7, 2003
The state's pledge to hire 50 caseworkers is a small step forward for the city's troubled Department of Social Services, but advocates for children say the hiring falls far short of curing the ills of a system in which foster children are often abused or neglected. For staff members serving foster children, caseloads will drop by about two children each, from about 23 children per worker to about 21. But the caseworkers will remain overworked as the ratio continues to fail to meet the standard of 15 children per worker required in a 1998 state law, said Mitchell Mirviss, a lawyer who represents foster children in a class action lawsuit against the agency.
NEWS
By Sheridan Lyons and Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer | February 5, 1993
About two dozen Essex juveniles with troubled backgrounds will soon find young caseworkers hot on their trails, pestering them to go to school or get home on time -- driving them if necessary -- under a preventive program opening in Baltimore County.This intense supervision is a hallmark of the Choice program, which is designed to help youngsters who have had minor problems before they get into real trouble.The new county program received grants this week of $75,000 from the state and $37,500 from the county, said Jacqueline M. Lampell, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS)
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | November 1, 2008
One-third of Baltimore's youths under court-ordered supervision had not seen their caseworkers for three months or longer this spring, which hampered the state's ability to keep its charges out of trouble, Maryland Department of Juvenile Services officials found in an unprecedented review, . The department disclosed the city's results yesterday, the day that similar reviews across the state were scheduled to be completed. Secretary Donald W. DeVore said he ordered the review to "create a baseline" from which to build new policies.
NEWS
April 29, 2008
Baltimore's Department of Social Services continues to lurch from one crisis case to the next with caseworkers and supervisors who are undertrained and overworked. State and city officials are taking some sensible steps to attract more - and more-qualified - workers. But conditions also have to improve to make these jobs more desirable, and the state and city need to consider these improvements a more urgent financial priority. DSS is responsible for 60 percent of Maryland's 10,000 children in foster care, and some of the more sensational and tragic cases of abuse and neglect have occurred under its watch.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Lynn Anderson and Greg Garland and Lynn Anderson,Sun reporters | April 27, 2008
Four-year-old Damaud Martin rests in a coma-like state in a Baltimore hospital, his once-bright smile gone. Relatives who visit him at the Kennedy Krieger Institute say doctors have told them it's likely he will never run, jump or play again. He was a victim of shaken baby syndrome, the Baltimore City Department of Social Services said in a court filing. Police are still investigating what happened to Damaud, who has been hospitalized since Jan. 19, but one thing is clear. The injury occurred two months after the social services agency, with court approval, sent him home.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Greg Garland and Lynn Anderson and Greg Garland,Sun reporters | February 7, 2008
Two more caseworkers have lost their jobs and another supervisor has been disciplined as a result of the death of 2-year-old Bryanna Harris, the Baltimore child who died of methadone poisoning despite her troubled mother's repeated contacts with more than a dozen city social services employees. State Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald, who oversees child welfare services, said she made the personnel decisions after receiving a final report from the agency's inspector general.
NEWS
January 31, 2008
The heartbreaking death of 2-year-old Bryanna Harris, allegedly at the hands of her mother, is made even more tragic with the release of the inspector general's report and its suggestion that workers in Baltimore's Department of Social Services were negligent in dealing with this family. Most shocking is the revelation that Vernice Harris, the child's mother, went to the city agency a month before Bryanna's death and asked for help, but she was turned away because her past cooperation with the agency had been spotty.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,Sun reporter | January 30, 2008
A month before Vernice Harris allegedly killed her daughter by giving her methadone and beating her, the mother asked a Baltimore Department of Social Services caseworker for help but was turned away. That's one of the findings of an investigative report released yesterday by the state Department of Human Resources, which oversees child protective services statewide. DHR Secretary Brenda Donald ordered the report in the wake of Vernice Harris' recent arrest on charges of first-degree murder in connection with the 2-year-old's death in June.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton and Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF | January 27, 2004
Baltimore's top health official proposed yesterday that the state reform its troubled child protective system by stationing abuse caseworkers in hospitals 24 hours a day and acting more quickly to remove minors from dangerous homes. Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, the city's health commissioner, said the reforms to the state-run Baltimore Department of Social Services could help prevent deaths such as that of 2-month- old David Carr, whose fatal beating was detailed in The Sun on Sunday. "As illustrated in recent local media reports, far too many children are being abused while on the watch of the Department of Social Services," Beilenson wrote in a report released yesterday.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | January 4, 1998
NEW YORK -- Of all the dire predictions about the dismantling of the nation's welfare system a year ago, perhaps the most disturbing was that more children would suffer from neglect, hunger and abuse in the chaos of households cut off from benefits.Child welfare experts feared the worst.For a year, Marcia Harris has been as qualified as anyone to determine whether these predictions were coming true. Harris, a caseworker at St. Joseph's Services for Children and Families in Brooklyn's Southside neighborhood, works with families on public assistance who have been ordered to seek counseling and other aid because their children were deemed to be at risk of abuse or neglect.
NEWS
January 29, 2008
Maryland's General Assembly is considering a number of bills to try to avoid another tragedy like that of Bryanna Harris, whose mother is charged in her murder. The impulse is understandable, but administrative changes could be just as, if not more, effective. That is certainly where Brenda Donald, the state's secretary of human resources, should direct energy and resources. While some legislative changes may be necessary, the main focus should be on putting in place a strong leader who can implement internal reforms that will allow Baltimore's Department of Social Services to better protect children and help families.
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