Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday he still supports the Administration for Children’s Services’ commissioner, a day after two of the agency’s former workers were charged in connection to the death of a 4-year-old girl in September.
Damon Adams, the former ACS worker who was assigned to Marchella Brett-Pierce’s case, and his former supervisor, Chereece Bell, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to the charges. It was the first time in city history that employees from the agency have been prosecuted after a child died on their watch.
“I don’t know whether the charges are true, but I have 100 percent confidence in [ACS commissioner] John Mattingly,” Bloomberg said. “This city is lucky to have him. I don’t know what you’d do if you lose him.”
Adams and Bell are facing charges of criminally negligent homicide, official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child.
Authorities said on Wednesday that Loretta Brett, Marchella’s grandmother, did nothing to stop her daughter from leaving the child bound to a bed, depriving her of food and water, and force-feeding her over-the-counter medicine. The girl’s mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, was charged with murder in November.
In a statement, the ACS said the indictments against its former employees may have a negative impact by “discourag[ing] excellent, idealistic individuals from taking jobs helping our society’s neediest and most vulnerable children.”