BROOKLYN — Mayor Bill de Blasio remains confident in the leadership of the Administration of Children’s Services in the wake of the death of Jaden Jordan, a 3-year-old boy who was brutally beaten and died over the weekend.
Jaden, 3, died Sunday at Coney Island Hospital, six days after he was found Nov. 28 with a fractured skull, lying in feces in the West Fifth Street home of his mom and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Salvatore Lucchese, police said.
The boy's death is the latest to rock ACS, and comes just weeks after 6-year-old Zymere Perkins was killed in Harlem.
“I do have confidence in ACS leadership,” de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference. “ We constantly have to improve our work, but in fact many, many lives have been saved. Understandably you don't get to hear about those stories, but I'm convinced that ACS is doing very, very important work all the time to save lives.”
In Jaden's case, ACS got a call of a boy being held in a dog cage on Nov. 26, but the caller gave them the wrong address to the apartment next door so they couldn't find Jaden, officials said.
After going to the wrong address, investigators did ring the doorbell of the apartment next door, where Jaden was eventually found, but no one answered and the investigators left, de Blasio said.
The ACS workers who investigated the tip about Jaden followed their standard procedure, according to an agency spokesman. After they didn't find him at the first address, the workers spoke with several tenants in the building who said they were unfamiliar with any of the people named in the tip.
Two days later, the agency got the correct address, the spokesman said without elaborating, but by then it was too late. The 911 call came that day.
Lucchese, who has an extensive history of domestic violence, police said, was initially charged with child abuse and assault, but sources said those charges could be upgraded to murder.
De Blasio said an investigation is underway into how ACS failed to find Jaden before his death, but added agency workers worked hard to find the boy after receiving the tip. Law enforcement sources, however, have questioned why police weren’t notified, especially given Lucchese being known to police as a repeat abuser.
Jaden’s death is only the latest in a string of high-profile cases that have raised questions about ACS leadership.
Several reports, including ones from Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and the Department of Investigation, have accused ACS of routinely failing to investigate allegations of child abuse. De Blasio announced a series of reforms in the wake of Zymere's death, including increasing the number of NYPD and child services personnel who jointly investigate suspected cases of serious abuse.
He also stood by Carrion.
“Based on everything I know, Gladys Carrion needs to continue as ACS Commissioner, and she’s the person who can actually get the job done," he said at the time.