DA Charges DHS Workers in starvation death of 14-year-old

District Attorney Lynne Abraham this morning announced plans to file charges against nine people in the death of Danieal Kelly, a 14-year-old with cerebral palsy who wasted away from starvation and neglect two years ago.

Kelly weighed just 42 pounds at the time of her death and was found on a filthy bed lying in her own waste. After an extensive grand jury investigation, her parents are being charged in her death, along with two workers for the city's  Department of Human Services, who are accused of failing to provide proper care for Danieal and for then trying to cover up their poor work.

Also charged are two employees of a private health firm under contract with DHS, also assigned to work on her case, and three friends of Danieal's mother who allegedly lied to jurors about Danieal's health.

"Today nine people are being arrested and the grand jury has produced a report that will, I hope, outrage Philadelphia," Abraham said.

Danieal's mother will be charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of children and her father with endangering the welfare of children. The DHS and contract workers will be charged with a range of charges including involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children and tampering with public records. The family friends will be charged with perjury.

Abraham blasted DHS, saying the agency had been mismanaged for decades and needed stronger surveillance from the state Department of Public Welfare.

"DHS needs a total revamping, a total shaking up, a total overhaul," she said, adding that the state "ought to take it over and clean up."

DHS is scheduled to hold a press conference on this case this afternoon.

UPDATE: Governor Rendell's spokesman Chuck Ardo said the state has no immediate plans to take over DHS.

"We are certainly going to monitor the situation, but the governor believes that the new administration and the new leadership at the agency deserve an opportunity to straighten things out," Ardo said.

In June, Nutter appointed Anne-Marie Ambrose, the director of child welfare and juvenile justice services for the state, as the new DHS Commissioner.