Multiple city officials on Wednesday called for investigations into the Administration for Children’s Services’ handling of a case involving a 3-year-old boy who was found severely injured in his Brooklyn home on Monday.
The calls come as the city’s Department of Investigation vowed to look into the circumstances.
The boy, Jaden Jordan, remained in critical condition on Wednesday, police said, after he was allegedly attacked by his mother’s boyfriend. Jordan suffered a fractured skull as well as lacerations to his spleen and liver, law enforcement sources said. He was found after his mom, Raven Hayes, 24, called police to their Gravesend home about 4:30 p.m. on Monday, cops said.
Her boyfriend, Salvatore Lucchesse, also 24, was charged with assault and acting in a manner injurious to a child after apparently telling investigators that Jordan had defecated in his pants and, while he was trying to clean him, fell in the shower and hit his head, a law enforcement source said. He allegedly said he tried to give the boy CPR, but police said Jordan’s injuries were not consistent with the story.
A spokesman for ACS said the agency received “an anonymous report” on Saturday and responded to the reported location within two hours. It was an unannounced visit.
“After two days of diligently and aggressively investigating the complaint, it became clear to our Child Protective Specialists that the caller reported an inaccurate address,” the spokesman said in an email. “We then promptly responded to the location in question and began what is now a highly active investigation.”
According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, the case worker was finally able to get the correct address on Monday.
“The NYC Administration for Children’s Services is saddened by this upsetting news,” the agency spokesman said in a statement earlier. “We are investigating the circumstances that led to this incident.”
DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said in a statement he requested access to ACS records involving Jordan as part of their prior investigation into the agency. The DOI issued a report highlighting “ACS’s investigatory and foster care oversight failures” in May 2016.
“As the Inspector General for ACS, DOI independently reviews child fatalities/near fatalities of ACS-involved children,” Peters said. “DOI has been actively investigating whether some or all of these cases were lawfully handled by ACS, whether there continue to be systemic and preventable problems at ACS that place children in danger, and whether ACS has implemented necessary changes noted in DOI’s prior reviews.”
Lucchesse has several prior arrests and was named in a dozen NYPD domestic incident reports, a law enforcement source said. The prior incidents did not involve Jordan.
The case comes about two months after the mother of a 6-year-old Harlem boy and her boyfriend were both charged with his death. Zymere Perkins died after being brought to the hospital with bruises and a head injury on Sept. 26.
ACS had reportedly received several complaints related to the abuse against Perkins but no action was taken.
Public Advocate Letitia James on Wednesday called for a “swift and thorough” criminal investigation and pointed out the need for “systemic reforms,” like dividing up the responsibilities of ACS.
“Time and time again, ACS fails to protect vulnerable children living in abusive and neglectful homes, and now an innocent three year old boy is hanging on for his life,” James said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Jaden and those who love him, hoping for a full recovery.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose office opened an investigation of ACS procedures following Perkins’ death, said he hopes the agency will be “transparent and swift” with their investigation into Jordan’s case.
“When it comes to child welfare, this is as horrific as it gets,” Stringer said in a statement. “It’s heartbreaking ... We must know what happened and why, because this is happening too often. We can’t allow a single child to slip through the cracks.”