NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Authorities say a 6-year-old child was allegedly attacked by an Administration for Children’s Services worker.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer went to ACS on First Avenue to find out about the alleged incident there Monday, in which police say 55-year-old Jacques Edwards attacked the boy.
Authorities say he first pushed the child into a door frame and then tried to stuff him into a file cabinet, cutting the left side of his face, Kramer reported.
Edwards has worked at ACS for four years. He was hired despite a 1981 murder conviction and a 19-year prison sentence. State Correction records indicate he was paroled in 2010 and got off parole in 2016.
ACS Commissioner David Hansell said Edwards was immediately relieved of his duties and the agency is reviewing the circumstances that led to him being hired in the first place.
“Today, we have hiring protocols in place that are much stricter in regards to hiring and vetting the staff for positions that involve working with children and working with young people,” he said.
Those protocols include a background check by the state.
“We believe in second chances, and it is not city policy that a criminal conviction of any kind is a permanent bar to city employment forever,” said Hansell. “But when it comes to working with children, we have to have stricter scrutiny, we have to have higher standards, and we do. I can tell you that I believe that today, under the protocols that we currently use for hiring, this individual would not have been hired into this position.”
A spokesperson for ACS said: “Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of New York City’s children, and as soon as this employee’s actions came to our attention we immediately removed him from duty and alerted law enforcement.”
On background, ACS sources insisted that hiring practices and background checks had changed and that if “this person were applying to work with children today, he would not pass our background checks.”
This is not the first scandal to rock the agency. Two years ago, Commissioner Gladys Carrion was forced to resign after the alleged mishandling of three high-profile cases — the deaths of 5-year-old Zymere Perkins, 4-year-old Zamir Coombs and 3-year-old Jaden Jordan.
Carrion broke down at a city council hearing on the Perkins case.
“I have committed my entire career to help children and families,” she said in October of 2016. “Losing a child is unbearable and it’s my responsibility and one that I take seriously.”
In this most recent case, police said Edwards is being charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He is now being held on $15,000 bail.