KIPS BAY, Manhattan — A child services worker has been charged with assaulting a 6-year-old boy in Manhattan.
Jacques Edwards, 55, was taken into custody on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child after he allegedly picked up the boy and slammed him into a doorframe and filing cabinet while caring for him at the Nicholas Scoppetta Children's Center in Kips Bay.
Edwards was hired by the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) four years ago.
He previously spent 28 years in prison after he was found guilty of murder, public records show. He was released on parole in 2010.
ACS told PIX11 that Edwards would not be hired if he was applying for work today, explaining that the organization has made "significant changes" in their background check policies. The organization is doing a full investigation in Edwards hiring process.
“Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of New York City’s children," an ACS spokesperson said. "As soon as this employee’s actions came to our attention we immediately removed him from duty and alerted law enforcement."
But when pressed about those standards four years ago when Edwards was hired, ACS Commissioner David Hansell said the ACS follows the New York State Justice Center guidelines. While sexual offenses and child endangerment offenses can bar a city employee from being hired to work with children, it appears felony convictions older than 10 years may not.
”When it comes to working with children we have to have stricter scrutiny, we have to have higher standards and we do," he said.
This was something, Hansell said, he worked to change last year.
A spokesperson at the NY Justice Center provided PIX11 with this statement:
“Justice Center records indicate Jacques Edwards was never submitted for a background check by ACS, as required by law.”
ACS has begun disciplinary proceedings and plans to pursue termination, a city source tells PIX11.
Edwards has been removed from duty without pay and will no longer have contact with any children, according to the source.