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After horrific beating of Jaden Jordan, Brooklyn BP Adams launches program to combat child abuse

December 3, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Ama Dwimoh launched Operation C.A.R.E. (Child Abuse Response and Engagement) days after three-year-old Jaden Jordan of Gravesend was found with a fractured skull. Photo by Mary Frost
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On Friday, days after three-year-old Jaden Jordan was found badly beaten and covered in feces in Gravesend, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams launched the Operation C.A.R.E. (Child Abuse Response and Engagement) program.

C.A.R.E. an information campaign designed to educate residents, many of whom don’t speak English, about identifying the signs of child abuse and the proper steps to take to report it. Working with Adams on the program is Ama Dwimoh, former chief of the Crimes Against Children Bureau in the Brooklyn DA’s Office and Adams’ special counsel.

Jaden suffered a severe brain injury and is currently in a coma at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia. The aunt of another child who suffered horrific abuse and subsequently died, Zymere Perkins of Harlem, attended the press conference.

“Child welfare can never be the sole responsibility of one person, one organization, one agency,” Adams said. “Every single one of us needs to look inward. I am responsible. You are responsible. We are responsible.”

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The public at large, particularly when English is a second language, is “not really aware of what simple steps they need to take” when they see or suspect child abuse, Adams said. “This program is going to walk people through the very simple things they can do, give them the simple warning signs.”

‘See something, say something’

“When you’re five years old, who do you call out for when things aren’t right, when you’re scared?” Dwimoh said. “They yell out for the names of the people who are meant to protect them. We know, sadly enough, that that’s just not enough.”

“We’ve got children who are living in home-grown terrorism within their homes, where they sleep at night,” she said. “I ask everyone: See something, say something.”

Borough Hall will reach out to organizations like community centers, churches, PTAs and “ambassador” program partners who already work with immigrants, and senior centers. “We’re not going to do it from the 20,000-foot level, we’re going to do it on the ground,” Adams said.

Roughly 47 percent of Brooklynites speak a language other than English at home, Adams said.

“We’re going to solicit partners who can speak in Hebrew, in Arabic, in German, in Chinese, and talk at basic levels and show them in a simple Powerpoint presentation — here’s what to look for, here’s how to report it. And let them know …. you will not be in trouble because you reported it,” he said.

In Jaden’s case, child welfare workers did receive a tip from a concerned resident — but the address was incorrect. It took ACS three days to find the right address, which was right next door to the wrong one. The day they found it, Jaden was hospitalized with a fractured skull.

When asked about this, Adams answered that reporting abuse is not enough. The public has the obligation to follow up on their initial report, he said.

“Your obligation did not end merely because you made that call. Follow through,” he said. “You want to make sure they went to the right house. … It’s your job to make sure the responders go to the right location.”

Standing with Adams were representatives of Safe Horizon and Social Services Employees Union (SSEU) Local 371.

Rosemary Perkins, aunt of Zymere Perkins, told the Brooklyn Eagle that the program was a start.

“All we can do is follow it up, stay on it. It’s not a one-man job … Let the village come together and save our children. Let voices be heard about these types of situations.”

She began to cry as she added, “Kids can’t speak for themselves. As adults… we must speak for them. We have to.”

Rosemary Perkins, aunt of Zymere Perkins, told the Brooklyn Eagle that the BP’s Operation C.A.R.E. program was a start. Video by Mary Frost


Signs of child abuse:

Aggressive behavior, behavioral extremes, constant hunger, depressed or listless behavior, eating disorders, failure to thrive, fear of going home, inappropriate dress, loss of interest, poor hygiene, poor peer relationships, sexually inappropriate behavior, sleep disturbances, and unexplained absences from home.

Who to call:

If you observe abuse or note the above conditions, call 911 and/or the New York State Central Register (SCR)’s public hotline at 800-342-3720. “Mandated reporters, such as teachers, should call 800-635-1522. Anyone interested in receiving an Operation C.A.R.E. presentation — including civic organizations, houses of worship, schools, and senior centers — should call 718-802-4042.

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