As trial is set to begin, revisiting reforms enacted after the death of Danieal Kelly

Jury selection is expected to begin Thursday in the trial of three accused in the death of Danieal Kelly, a 14 year old who was only 42 pounds when she died in 2006. A non-profit private contractor was supposed to be checking on her. Her death sparked reforms in Philadelphia’s child protection agency. Here’s what’s happened since.

The teenager fell through the cracks of the social service system. Frank Cervone, is Executive Director of the Support Center for Child Advocates. He says the Department of Human Services has done many things to make sure it couldn’t happen again.

“What we saw in the Danieal Kelly case was that safety has to come first when it comes to priorities child safety has to be first among equals in terms of the goals and priorities of the case,” said Cervone. “DHS has done a good job, some room for improvement we think in focusing on child safety and delivering services connected to issues of safety.”

Shelly Yanoff of Public Citizens for Children and Youth says the agency has turned a corner since Danieal’s death and has clarified its main function as protecting children and supporting families.

“These are always hard incidents and it’s a very very hard work, we are much better off than we were in the way we protect children,” said Yanoff.


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