Sara Packer: Jacavage was employed by NorCo CYF during the entire time that Packer was there, but never directly supervised her. "She fooled all of us!" is how she summed up Packer. "Nothing was saying to us that she was going too rape and murder a child." But she described her as liking to dress in Goth attire, or dyeing her hair numerous different colors. She indicated that ne fellow supervisor had expressed concerns about Packer. She also said that Packer had told her co-workers that she never wanted to adopt Grace. She only wanted a boy, bit Pennsylvania promotes sibling adoption, and Packer would be unable to adopt the boy unless she also took Grace.
CYF workers: Jacavage indicates that the staff is overworked and underpaid. I know from other sources that twelve hour days are not common, and the starting salary for a Caseworker I is only about $33,000. She indicated that the low salary is "no excuse for an uncaring and inhumane attitude." She indicated that most caseworker are conscientious and work hard, but there are a few "who are cold and power hungry and disrespectful."
CYF Administration: Most of her criticism is focused on Director Kevin Dolan and his Assistant, Patricia Himmelwright, as well as their managing attorney, Valerie Cammarene. In fairness, and this has been my big concern all along, they have been muzzled and are unable to respond. But after speaking with Jacavage, I believe her concerns about Valerie Cammarene. If true, they illustrate a person who is cold and disrespectful.
- At a dependency hearing this summer, a mother was in court who had children with several different fathers. According to Jacavage, Cammarene started singing a song about it, set to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," ridiculing the mother. We all have opinions about women whose poor choices often lead to multiple fathers, but Cammarene publicly humiliated the mother, displaying a total lack of respect. Kevin Dolan was apprised of this situation, and refused to do anything.
- In another dependency matter involving a father who was extremely nervous, Cammerene taunted him with "Let the games begin!"
- In a dependency or custody matter in which a judge had requested information from CYF, Cammerene took it upon herself to review the file, gave erroneous information to the court because she failed to read it properly, and the judge awarded custody to the wrong party. The child involved was so devastated by this turn of events that she tried to commit suicide. She was sent to a psychiatric facility, where another patient assaulted her and knocked out a tooth.
I have hesitated to write about Jacavage for two reasons. First, what she tells me is inconsistent with my own interactions with Kevin Dolan. Second, he's unable to respond. But I am disclosing her more pertinent criticisms primarily because this kind of abuse has happened befo CYF.
In 2010, Jose Huertas Aponte, a NorCo CYF caseworker, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12 year-old boy. Judge Michael Koury sentenced him to 12-24 years in state prison, the maximum he could impose under state law. “You of all people know it was your job to help and protect children,” Judge Koury said.
That's a job we all have.