SPECIAL REPORT: Private contractors that provide services to children get little oversight by the agency, a review finds.
For decades, Philadelphia's Department of Human Services paid private contractors tens of millions of dollars to check on vulnerable children but did little to make sure those checks were actually happening.
Authorities want to know if a social-service agency fraudulently got millions in federal cash.
A federal grand jury is investigating whether a social-services contractor defrauded taxpayers when it charged millions of dollars to monitor hundreds of vulnerable children - including a 14-year-old girl who died of neglect during an August heat wave.
A caseworker told the agency she saw the youth regularly. Police said he was on the run part of that time, sought in two slayings.
Throughout the summer, a city-paid caseworker visited the home of a troubled 17-year-old named Braheem Burke to make sure he was OK. The worker's employer, MultiEthnic Behavioral Health, assured the city Department of Human Services that nothing unusual had happened to him. But police tell a different story: During part of the time MultiEthnic claimed to be checking on the teen, Burke was a fugitive, wanted in a double slaying.
The new leader said a probe in-house would review dozens of contractors being paid to monitor children.
In what he calls an effort to "begin to reestablish the credibility of this agency," Philadelphia's new child welfare commissioner has launched a plan to step up the monitoring of millions of dollars in contracts and revisit each child under the city's care.
Amid an inquiry into child deaths in Phila., the aide, in the job
The state official in charge of regulating Philadelphia's child-welfare system has been removed from his post amid questions about why the city agency received passing grades while child-abuse deaths were increasing.
City review of teen's neglect was key to ouster of leadership.
Fourteen-year-old Danieal Kelly, bedridden and nearly paralyzed with cerebral palsy, wasted away in her stifling Mantua apartment, gaping bedsores exposing her bones. When she died, she weighed just 46 pounds.