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Give me a break

Malvern, OH

#1 Aug 30, 2010
On any level, Palm said, an ombudsman can provide "an extra set of eyes and ears, and can ring the bell louder in the case of children."

The filling of the quality-assurance post in Erie County comes at a crucial time for OCY, which has 180 employees who this year will handle more than 900 cases of abused and neglected children.

OCY has been in a mode of change since Gary Lucht, a former warden at the Erie County Prison, took over in 2005. Daniels, a former head of human services in Mercer County, succeeded Lucht in January 2008, after he retired.

She has won praise and solid support from County Council and her boss, County Executive Barry Grossman, as she tries to make OCY more responsive to the needs of troubled families and more open to the public.

Daniels has been readily available to discuss problems and achievements at OCY with the Erie Times-News. That's a big break from the pre-2005 OCY, which was about as accessible to reporters -- and, by extension, to the public -- as the Kremlin.

Like child-welfare agencies nationwide, OCY is bound by strict confidentiality laws on what information it can release. The quality-assurance hire must be an OCY employee so that person has access to case files, and Daniels said OCY is considering how best to use the quality-assurance position to interact with the public and increase openness.

Daniels adheres to the confidentiality constraints, but has consistently tried to disclose whatever she can.

She has not shrunk from criticism. She was quick to investigate and comment on OCY's most recent problem -- the agency's failure to more quickly report to police a June child-abuse complaint against Aaron L. Noyer, the 22-year-old accused of molesting and killing another child, a 2-year-old Erie girl, earlier this month. Daniels disciplined some OCY employees, but county personnel rules prohibited her from saying more.

The Noyer incident, as well as Daniels' handling of it, reveal that OCY is at a crossroads.

Many reforms have taken hold, and OCY is making its employees more accountable. But the errors in the Noyer case still occurred, showing that OCY needs to reform further.

Mary Ann Daniels is the first to acknowledge the continued challenges she faces at OCY, and the first to list the agency's successes. She is also the first to welcome help -- coming soon in the form of the ombudsman.

"This," Daniels said, "is a huge step for the county."
Give me a break

Malvern, OH

#2 Aug 30, 2010
Published: August 29. 2010 12:01AM
OCY, still dealing with change, to get more help in pursuing reforms
Ed Palattella
The Erie County Office of Children and Youth has moved to become more transparent since the May 2004 death of Brittany Legler led to an overhaul of the agency. More transparency is on its way.

OCY is close to hiring an ombudsman to handle complaints from the public about the agency.

The creation of the position was a key recommendation in a 2006 study of OCY that Erie County Council commissioned in response to the case of Legler, a mentally disabled 15-year-old who died after her adoptive mother beat her.

Wrangling over cost and supervisory structure stalled the creation of the position, until County Council included it in the budget. But after securing the funding, refining the position and narrowing the field of candidates, OCY is ready to fill the $55,000-a-year Civil Service job, with the state paying 60 percent and the county the rest.

The director of OCY, Mary Ann Daniels, said last week she expects to announce a hire in two to three weeks.

The formal name of the position is program specialist for quality assurance and compliance, and the person will report directly to Daniels. The person will investigate complaints about OCY, review procedures, develop training programs, randomly examine cases and recommend improvements.

"I hope," Daniels said, "the public sees this as a method of ensuring that we continue to look at our programs and work on things that still need fixed -- and also to help us realize when our staff is doing a good job. That is important."

An ombudsman can instill public confidence in a child-welfare agency if that person is committed to an independent view, said Cathleen Palm, cofounder of the Protect Our Children Committee, a statewide advocacy group. She wants Pennsylvania to establish a state-level position of a child-welfare ombudsman.
Give me a break

Malvern, OH

#4 Aug 30, 2010
“Daniels has won the praises of County Council and the County Executive”.“Daniels has been readily available to discuss problems and achievements at OCY with the Erie the Erie Times News”
Maybe these fine elected folks should talk to the front-line staffs that work at OCY? Ask the majority of staff how readily available Daniel is!
Give me a break!
CRANK

Erie, PA

#6 Aug 30, 2010
900 cases per year divided by 180 employees is 5 cases per employee per year. With that "heavy" a workload, shouldn't we be able to expect better performance without the 'you don't understand' or 'it's a judgment call' or 'too many cases and not enough resources' excuse every time there is a problem? IMO this is simply another example of bureaucracy unable to achieve competency, which is so typical of anything government does.
Bull

Pittsburgh, PA

#7 Aug 31, 2010
I think Daniels and Gross man should both resign and give their jobs to more qualified candidates.
name

Auburn, PA

#8 Aug 31, 2010
fire them all.
Anonymous

Beachwood, OH

#9 Aug 31, 2010
let's be honest most of the time it's the laziest people who decide to work for these agencies. those who decided to take the easy way outta life. 5 is a heavy workload.

“Loving my life”

Since: Aug 10

Location hidden

#10 Sep 1, 2010
I say it all the time, OCY is a joke. They have proven that time and time again. Look at all the kids that they have failed to protect. You have kids that have died, in a comma, living in filth with drug addict parents, etc. because of wonderful OCY. It's crazy, they should be doing more. It's pretty sad when you call OCY and report a parent who is always high and not taking care of their child the way they should and OCY says, well even if the parent is high on drugs, as long as the child has a roof over their head, food, etc. and not being abused, there is nothing we can do! WTF is that??? So, crack w hores can still keep their kids knowing that they are not being taken care of the right way?
CRANK

Erie, PA

#11 Sep 1, 2010
Cruel and uncaring as it may seem, we don't have a problem with needing a license to drive a car. We have no problem with the government telling us what we can eat in schools, where we can smoke, what drugs we can take, what we can pack if we are traveling, yet we seem to have a problem with the idea that not everyone should be allowed to reproduce, or house a child. Why is that? Gotta take a test to drive a car, but all you gotta do to have, and abuse a kid, is to drop your pants. Maybe its just me, but something is outta sink there. Where are you caring libs? Willing to forgo freedoms one after another, yet also willing to allow children to be subjected to crackwhore mothers, deadbeat dads, and abusive live in boyfriends. Anyone care to explain?
A real dad

Edinboro, PA

#12 Sep 20, 2010
OCY is a joke. The only thing they are consistent in is making up information. No changes have been implemented, nor will they be.

If the system is corrupted or say damaged, how can another OCY worker be in charge of quality? Does this seem dumb to anyone else?

The lawyers in the area all are in on this as well. As research I contacted many many lawyers here in Erie, 95% will not touch an OCY case, citing "conflict of interest". This doesn't bode well for those without a few thousand just to have a good lawyer take a case. Court appointed attorneys are simply a joke. Trust me, they seem to side with OCY and tell their clients to "do what they say". Not much of a defense.

I have had a supervisor at OCY, Bob Pettis cite that they have "problems with funding". Is this the reason young children are put in more danger? Take a look at DPW public records, federal funding is received when people take federally funded "parenting courses". Fatherhood and motherhood classes? Full. Not to mention a lot of happily busy shrinks.

Children are not what is being protected here, only employment and money. OCY needs to be gutted and restaffed under an actual watchful eye.
who cares

Erie, PA

#13 Feb 20, 2011
CRANK wrote:
900 cases per year divided by 180 employees is 5 cases per employee per year. With that "heavy" a workload, shouldn't we be able to expect better performance without the 'you don't understand' or 'it's a judgment call' or 'too many cases and not enough resources' excuse every time there is a problem? IMO this is simply another example of bureaucracy unable to achieve competency, which is so typical of anything government does.
110 of the workers are "support" staff, typist, case aides, filing clerks, switchboard, screeners, admins, lawyers, paralegals, etc, none of which work carries a so call caseload. too top heavy. 900 is only the number which is accepted and is for one years, those 900 cases just don't go away after a years time.
Love Hate

Erie, PA

#14 Jun 30, 2011
I heard Daniels has given her husband contracts through her authority at OCY. I wonder if it is true?
turtledove

Erie, PA

#15 Jul 1, 2011
Not too different then Amy Jones the head attorney for OCY hired a couple of her legal staff from the Vendetti/Vendetti law firm that her husband works at. You would think county government would have a conflict of interest policy.
lawlady

Crestview, FL

#16 Jan 17, 2012
Who is Daniels' husband? I've seen her with some attorney a lot, but wondered if that was her husband. When she first came to Erie, it was said she was doing such a great job...not what we have heard lately:( Sad for those who need the OCY services so badly.
Country Gal Daniels

Erie, PA

#17 Jan 18, 2012
Daniels is corrupt as is her present admin. and attorneys. They hide the facts, threaten the workers to do what they want them to do or risk losing their jobs- the caseworkers and supervisors work in fear and that's why kids get hurt. OCY admin. has it's own agendas and it's not always in a child's best interest. Remember too, these people are politically appointed because of someone they know and are NOT the most qualified and are lacking in clinical skills. It's a sad situation that more than likely is not going to change as long as these dimwits are running it.
Sickened

Erie, PA

#18 Jul 26, 2013
Why is it when OCY knows of people fraudulently taking money for kinship care for 7 months they do nothing about it? That's a federal offense...why do they look the other way?
Is it because the family has connections because the father of the woman is an ex Millcreek cop?
How many pockets are getting lined here to keep this quiet?
druggie parents

Erie, PA

#19 Jul 28, 2013
I recently heard a story where a parent was a drug addict. Ocy was called and the parent was asked to give a drug test. The parent refused and that was it ocy closed the case. They are a joke. Even provided ocy pictures of the parent doing drugs and they still did nothing.
Sickened

Erie, PA

#20 Aug 1, 2013
druggie parents wrote:
I recently heard a story where a parent was a drug addict. Ocy was called and the parent was asked to give a drug test. The parent refused and that was it ocy closed the case. They are a joke. Even provided ocy pictures of the parent doing drugs and they still did nothing.
They have the "right" to refuse a drug test. And yep, they will ignore pictures too. You just start to give up, and sadly, eventually, something happens to the kid/s. This stuff happens all the time.
yuppers

Erie, PA

#21 Aug 1, 2013
Sickened wrote:
<quoted text>
They have the "right" to refuse a drug test. And yep, they will ignore pictures too. You just start to give up, and sadly, eventually, something happens to the kid/s. This stuff happens all the time.
And this was not 1st time ocy was called on this person. The first time was because the parent locked her kid in his room so the parent could do drugs with her friends the ocy asked the kid how long was he in his room he said since he woke up, ocy asked did you eat all day the kid responded no. And guess what they did nothing!!!!! Abosolute bullshit if you ask me. It was a women parent. Bet if the allegation were against a guy it would be a total diffrent story. But if you have tits and a pussy you can do anything.
anon

Erie, PA

#22 Aug 11, 2013
Or they take kids from parents because the dad lied and mom's boyfriend has a criminal record...and the kid is very taken care of. Now that the kid is in foster care and is getting the same bruises the mom gets the reply that they will look into it. When in fact she doesn't get any answers

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