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DA Krasner Statement on Investigation of DHS Worker Following Death of Toddler

PHILADELPHIA (October 11, 2022)District Attorney Larry Krasner on Tuesday issued the following statement on yesterday’s arrest of a social worker subcontracted by the Department of Human Services for her role in the death of 3-year-old Hope Jones last July. The social worker, Jendayi Mawusi, was to monitor the welfare of the victim, whose foster guardian Kiana Casey (DOB: 6/17/1992) is already charged with murder.

“A postmortem examination of 3-year-old Hope Jones that was conducted by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office produced the following findings: the deceased child had sustained numerous contusions and hemorrhages to her body, several fractures to the rib that were healing at the time of death, and deep hemorrhages on all parts of both of her arms and legs. The finding of injuries at various stages of healing at the time of her death indicate, according to the Medical Examiner, that the deceased child had sustained significant physical abuse on repeated occasions.

“On July 19, 2022, Kiana Casey was arrested for her role in the July 12th death of Hope Jones. The DA’s Office charged Casey, who was Jones’s foster guardian, with Third Degree Murder, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Tampering with Evidence, Aggravated Assault of a Child, and Intimidation. She remains in the custody of the Department of Prisons.

“As with all criminal cases brought by the District Attorney’s Office, the investigation of Hope Jones’ death did not conclude upon the arrest of Kiana Casey. On Friday, October 7th, I approved charges of Third Degree Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child against Jendayi Mawusi (DOB: 03/09/1997), a social worker contracted by the city Department of Human Services (DHS) who was assigned to monitor Jones’ placement in Casey’s residence. Mawusi was arrested by Philadelphia Police on Monday, October 10th.

“Mawusi had been a Case Manager employed by Northeast Treatment Centers (NETs), a Community Umbrella Agency (CUA) subcontracted by DHS to assist with providing social services to client families. Mawusi was assigned as the Case Manager for Hope Jones from the time she was placed in Casey’s care in November of 2020 until Jones’ death in July 2022.

“Records from DHS and NETs, medical records, and Mawusi’s own home visit summaries and case notes reveal that under Casey’s kinship care, Hope Jones’ health and well-being significantly and severely declined over time. Mawusi is alleged to have failed on multiple occasions to follow up on instructions given to Casey to seek medical care for Jones, and is also alleged to have failed to file incident reports after observing injuries incurred by Jones.

“Mawusi’s final visit to Casey’s home as a Case Manager was on July 12, 2022 – shortly before emergency responders were called to the home and tried heroically to save 3-year-old Hope Jones’s life. As a Case Manager, Mawusi was a state-mandated reporter, meaning she was legally obligated to make a report if she had reasonable cause to suspect that Jones was a victim of child abuse. We allege that Mawusi repeatedly failed to investigate and intervene during what should have been obvious signs of physical harm inflicted on Hope Jones during her tragically short life.

“There are numerous additional details regarding this investigation that cannot be shared publicly at this time. I want to be clear that the outrageous and criminal actions by Mawusi require criminal accountability for her and a look at improving systems. In no way are they a condemnation of social workers generally. We know that social work is among the most difficult and the most undervalued professions across the Commonwealth and the nation, not just here in Philadelphia.

“We know that City Council and city government have worked with deep empathy and urgency to make sure similar tragedies of the past are not repeated. But prevention requires sustained investment and attention, especially through periods of time when the spotlight of the media is directed elsewhere. Now is the time to improve systems that protect children, and to lift up social workers who care deeply and do their jobs well — not lambaste them. We must work together across city agencies and communities to ensure all children, regardless of the circumstances into which they are born, are cared for and afforded opportunities to thrive.”

CONTACT:Jane Roh, 215-686-8711, [email protected]

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.