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Social Worker Pay Rates
August 5, 2008 permalink
Philadelphia teenager Danieal Kelly had cerebral palsy, making her too much trouble to care for. Her mother let her die of starvation.
In this kind of case, social services pleads for more money and power to prevent similar future tragedies. At the same time, they make any social workers who should have been on the lookout for the remunerative case into scapegoats. Nine social workers have been suspended in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Daily News has assembled a list of the nine with their salaries. In aggregate they made $658,454 annually. It looks like social workers are anything but poor.
If you want to see the whole story of the child being shamelessly exploited in a bureaucratic power grab, it is in the grand jury report (pdf, from the Philadelphia Inquirer) or our local copy. Don't go there if you are squeamish.
A look at the 9 suspended DHS employees
Posted on Tue, Aug. 5, 2008, DANA POINDEXTER
Poindexter, a $55,243-a-year social worker who joined DHS in 1992, allegedly ignored repeated complaints of abuse and neglect in Danieal's case over a two-year period. Poindexter was suspended last week after being criminally charged in the case. Danieal was the second child to die on his watch. In 2003, Poindexter was suspended for "failing to conduct the required home visits" and safety assessments after a 3-week-old baby died, according to the grand-jury report
Walker, a 30-year veteran of DHS, was Poindexter's immediate supervisor at the time of Danieal's death. Poindexter was one of five social workers under her supervision. The grand jury concluded that Walker essentially enabled Poindexter to brush off multiple abuse complaints, including allegations that Danieal's father beat her. Walker also was aware of complaints that Danieal wasn't in school or receiving medical care, and that neighbors heard her screaming. She didn't require him to complete required investigative reports, according to the grand jury. About a month before Danieal died, Walker got promoted to DHS administrator and now earns $73,957 a year.
Poller, a DHS employee since 1980, was Walker's supervisor and oversaw the "intake unit," made up of "child protective" social workers like Poindexter, who are responsible for investigating complaints of abuse or neglect received by DHS' hotline. Instead of ensuring that Poindexter did his job, Poller disposed of abuse complaints related to Danieal by marking them "unsubstantiated" in the DHS database, the grand jury says. It concluded that Poller falsified records in Danieal's case to cover up the "nonperformance" of Poindexter, Walker and herself. Poller, who earns $78,438 a year, is now project manager of a DHS team that reviews child deaths.
Sommerer, a DHS social worker since 1992 who earns $54,843 a year, also was suspended last week after being criminally charged in the case. She was responsible for ensuring that employees at MultiEthnic Behavioral Health, an outside contractor, did their jobs, specifically enrolling Danieal in school, getting her medical care, and connecting her with services for her cerebral palsy. Sommerer had Danieal's case for 10 months before she died. The girl had not started school or seen a doctor during that time, the grand jury found. Every three months, Sommerer was required to visit Danieal's family and make sure that the children were safe. On a June 29, 2006, visit to the home, Sommerer told grand jurors that she didn't enter the room where Danieal lay in bed. The grand jury concluded that Sommerer backdated a report to cover up her negligence.
Hawk, who has worked at DHS for over a decade and earns $63,880 a year, was Sommerer's immediate supervisor. In grand-jury testimony, Hawk admitted that she did not review the DHS file on the Kelly family until after Danieal died. Hawk claimed that she discussed the case with Sommerer and kept progress notes from the meetings, but no records were found to support her claim.
Davis, a social-worker supervisor with a $56,678 salary, replaced Hawk as Sommerer's supervisor in April 2006 - about four months before Danieal's death. Davis' job required him to review the Kelly case in June 2006. But he failed to do so, the grand jury concluded.
Mond, a DHS administrator who earns $78,438 and started with the agency in 1981, supervised Davis, Hawk and Sommerer. Mond gave Sommerer an "outstanding" performance review three days before Danieal's death. While Sommerer visited the Kelly family five times as required, she failed to notice "the girl was being starved to death," the grand-jury report concluded.
Brown, who currently earns $93,178 a year as DHS director of intake, was director of the agency's social-service program and Mond's supervisor at the time of Danieal's death. He has been with DHS since 1975. During grand-jury testimony, Brown defended Sommerer's job performance, saying that she had met the "minimum expectations in case management."
Mayo, who earns $103,799 a year as DHS director of Operations for the Children and Youth Division, was Brown's supervisor. During the investigation into Danieal's death, Mayo testified that she never spoke with Sommerer, Mond, Davis, or Hawk about the case. Mayo, 26-year DHS employee, "made excuses for the employees' outrageous lapses and for her own failure to administer any consequences for failing to do their jobs," the grand jury concluded. *
Source: Grand Jury Report to District Attorney Lynne Abraham.
City payroll records.
Source: Philadelphia Daily News