ACS announces new initiative to protect kids from domestic violence

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NEW YORK — The Administration for Children's Services continues to announce changes to how the agency operates, following the high profile deaths of several New York City children.

The family of Zymere Perkins still wonders how the little boy fell through the cracks. There was domestic violence in the home and the Administration for Children's Services had previously been involved.

But the 6-year-old died in September 2016, allegedly at the hands of his mother's boyfriend.

"This man was a monster. He was a parolee," Rosemary Perkins said.

Rysheim Smith was arrested and charged with the boy's death.

Her great-niece, Geraldine Perkins, has been charged with manslaughter. Rosemary Perkins said Smith would regularly beat both Rosemary and Zymere Perkins.

Since Perkins and several other high profile cases, The Administration for Children's Services has made sweeping changes.
The commissioner announced a new domestic violence protocol Tuesday at ACS headquarters in Lower Manhattan.

Families working with ACS, receiving support services, would be evaluated. And if needed ACS investigative consultants would assist in the case.

The goal, according to Commissioner David Hansell, is to stop domestic abuse. Often times domestic abuse and child abuse go hand and hand.

In this new protocol the consultants, who are retired NYPD detectives, would work with case workers and other ACS employees.

"One of things that the investigative consultants have the ability to do, is to search databases that might pull up information about a history that would be a concern to us," Hansell said.

According to Hansell, three criteria must be met for this new protocol to kick in.

There are domestic violence risk factors or an adult in the home has a criminal history. A new adult, like a boyfriend, joins the household and becomes a caregiver. And there are children under the age of 7 living in the home.

Programs like this didn't exist when Zymere Perkins was alive. But Rosemary Perkins hopes ACS will do a better job for other children.

"We have to keep fighting," she said.