It was an amazing display of bad government. Fortunately, there has since been an equally amazingly display of good government. It's what can happen when government actually listens to someone like Durante instead of hiding from her.
Durante has continued digging into this story, speaking to foster children placed with Sarah Packer. She spoke to a foster child who now is herself a caseworker. When she was a child, she had been placed with the Packers, courtesy of the Impact Project. This child,like another child,reported abuse at the Packer household to the Impact Project, and claims she was ignored.
Barron was aware that NorCo is one of several counties using the Impact Project.He knew that the County had just mailed the Impact Project $37,147.92. Here's part of Barron's email to CYF and Brown.
It is important to note that this was Sara Packer's place of employment prior to coming to work for Northampton County, and there is a possibility she continued to moonlight with them after she began working with us. She clearly received foster children from the agency on an ongoing basis until her husband was accused of abuse which led to Ms. Packer's termination from Northampton County.Instead of cutting off Barron's access again, the County actually listened. Human Services Director Allison Frantz issued a news release. (She failed to send me a copy, but it's the thought that counts). In this news release, Frantz says,
This information is troubling and makes me question whether or not it is a good idea to continue to engage with the Impact Project until the investigation is over. We now have two people who have come forward about abuse that was not follow up on or reported by the Impact Project. While these children were not Northampton County Children, can we continue to roll the dice. I believe that Pinebrook and other agencies provide this service (which is part of a project I am looking at for a larger audit in the future) so I don't think suspending the use of Impact would hurt the county and prevent services from being provided. I just don't think we can take a chance on this agency knowing what we have heard about in news reports.It is important to note that this was Sara Packer's place of employment prior to coming to work for Northampton County, and there is a possibility she continued to moonlight with them after she began working with us. She clearly received foster children from the agency on an ongoing basis until her husband was accused of abuse which led to Ms. Packer's termination from Northampton County.
A procedure is in place to investigate allegations of abuse. When foster parents are involved, the Pennsylvania Office of Children, Youth and Families, specifically the Regional Division, is in charge of investigating those allegations.Since that time, several other counties have followed suit.Better safe than sorry.
Northampton County continues to engage in the proper investigatory procedures. The county is taking all necessary steps to ensure that the children placed through Northampton County, including those placed through The Impact Project, are not subject to abuse. Northampton County has used the Impact Project as a foster care provider. However, referrals to The Impact Project have been suspended.
That's how government should work.It's called transparency. Is that so hard?