Nine charged in DHS death (are you ready for change?)
Two Philadelphia social workers were charged yesterday with being complicit in the death of Danieal Kelly, a 14-year-old girl who starved to death in 2006, her body eaten by bed sores to the bone. Unveiling a blistering grand jury report today, District Attorney Lynne Abraham blasted the city's Department of Human Services as an indifferent and callous agency that had let Kelly die needlessly.
Drawing gasps at a news conference in which she showed a photograph of Kelly's bloody emaciated corpse, Abraham urged the state to take over DHS.
The grand jury's stark and emotionally wrenching report, Abraham said, should "outrage the whole Philadelphia community."
The grand jury also charged Kelly's mother with homicide, and her father with child endangerment. But it said they shared responsibility for Danieal's death with two DHS workers, as well as two other private social workers who worked under contract with the agency.
"We are certainly going to monitor this situation, but the Governor believes that the city’s new administration and the new leadership at the Department of Human Services are committed to making the changes necessary to improve the situation, and he believes they should have the opportunity to do so,” said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Rendell.
The two city workers charged were Laura Sommerer and Dana Poindexter, whom Abraham said were still employed by DHS. Both were charged with child endangerment.
The pair were responsible for overseeing the care provided to Danieal and her eight brothers and sisters because the children were at risk of neglect.