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Turning Points 'Not' for Children

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Turning Points, the largest child welfare provider in Philadelphia, will pay $6 million to three Philadelphia-area girls who claimed they were sexually and physically abused.

Philadelphia, PAThe largest Philadelphia child welfare agency, which returned three girls to their sexually abusive father who continued to assault them, has settled with the girls for $6 million. This tragic incident isn’t the first involving “Turning Points for Children”. In fact Turning Points has been named in at least three negligence complaints. Perhaps it should be named Turning Points NOT for Children.

And thanks to the Philadelphia Inquirer for identifying Turning Points--its name was not made publicly available as part of the settlement agreement. And the Pennsylvania Department of Human Resources said it was not aware of the allegations against Turning Points until being contacted by the Inquirer after the settlement announcement, but added that it plans to investigate Turning Points.

Turning Points Not For Children

The lawsuit claimed that Turning Points, the Public Health Management Corporation and Carson Valley Children's Aid violated a duty of care when they neglected to conduct a background check on the girls' father. Karl Elliot was also known to beat his children with electrical cords.

In June 2015 the girls were taken from the custody of their father by Turning Points, after allegations of sexually assaulting a woman and one of his own daughters. But the girls were assigned to homes where they suffered more abuse. Incredibly, in June 2016 the girls were placed in a home where the father resided.

In August 2017 one of the girls escaped her father and in a 911 call, said he tried to rape her the night before and all three girls had been sexually assaulted multiple times. The father was sentenced to 37 years in prison for rape and aggravated indecent assault. The case was E.M.H. vs Turning Points For Children et al., case number 190606891, in the Court of Common Pleas Philadelphia County.

The girls’ attorney, Nadeem Bezar, said the welfare provider knew of the abuse for years but failed to follow protocols that could have protected the safety and well-being of the three children. According to the Inquirer, Philadelphia City Councilmember Cindy Bass said Philadelphia DHS and Turning Points “owes us all an explanation… The idea that they’d be able to sweep this under the rug is totally unacceptable.”

Two More Turning Points Negligence Lawsuits

In 2017 Anthony Singleton filed a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit --his infant son and 3-year-old stepdaughter were killed by their mother, Sophia Hines, in June 2106. The lawsuit alleges that Turning Points, which was providing services to the family, failed to consult with Department of Human Services psychologists or review Hines’ medical information before recommending that the court release the children back into her custody.

The children were in foster care because Hines was “depressed and overwhelmed”. In April 2016 Turning Points recommended to Family Court that Hines regain custody. But in a review of the case the agency did so without conducting a parenting-capacity evaluation and had no knowledge of Hines’ mental health status.

And a third Turning Points lawsuit involves two Philadelphia boys who were allegedly sexually abused by their foster parent’s grandson in 2016. Reform Talk reported that the boys, aged 6 and 8 years old, were placed into care at a home -- an action coordinated and supervised by Turning Point for Children and Northern Children’s Services-- where they were allegedly sexually abused by their foster parent’s grandson.

From August of 2016 through July of 2017, defendant Hunter’s grandson, K.L.H., lived at the subject foster home…[and] sexually abused the minor plaintiffs. On information and belief, K. took video recordings of at least some of his sexual abuse of the minor plaintiffs,” the lawsuit stated. “As a direct and proximate result of defendants’ liability-producing conduct and this resulting sexual abuse and harm of minor plaintiffs, they suffered injuries which are serious and/or permanent including physical and emotional pain and suffering, anguish, inconvenience, embarrassment, humiliation and/or loss of life’s pleasures.”

According to the Penn Record (March 2019), the plaintiffs alleged the defendants were responsible for
  • Creating and/or enhancing an unsafe situation that allowed minor plaintiffs to be harmed and sexually abused,
  • Failing to reasonably and safely conduct and/or supervise the foster care of minor plaintiffs
  • Failing to ensure that minor plaintiffs were properly monitored and supervised during their foster care.”
The city’s contract work with Turning Points almost doubled since 2016—from $38 million for billed services to $54 million in 2020.


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