Questions over Philadelphia DHS handling of child who starved to death

The starvation death of a 6-year-old in Philadelphia is under review. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer is bringing up many questions.

The parents of Khalil Wimes are facing charges of starving their son to death in March. The Department of Human Services is being criticized for returning the boy to his birth parents even though the agency had previously taken seven other children from their custody on charges of neglect.

Mayor Michael Nutter says the death is a terrible tragedy but social workers can’t be everywhere.

“The true bottom line is we can’t have a DHS employee in every home in Philadelphia,” Nutter said. “We can’t have a DHS employee in every home where abuse and or neglect has occurred or is suspected.”

The mayor says the case is under review. The Inquirer story says a case worker visited the boy eight times during the last eight months of his life.

“In this particular case at hand, and as the result of a procedure put in place by Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose, the DHS social work employee involved in this case has been placed on what’s known as non-case carrying status, doing office work and not be out in the field,” Nutter said.

The mayor says the DHS accountability office will audit the work of the employee and supervisor.

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