We now know the full Democratic ticket for the 2020 election, as Joe Biden has tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate. My colleagues spoke to Democrats in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania about the choice, and whether Harris will have a profound impact on how the state swings in November.
And yesterday, a sobering investigation into the nation’s leading behavioral health nonprofit for youth uncovered supervision, staffing, and training lapses that led to the abuse of children.
Founded in Chester County more than a century ago, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health specializes in treating children with intellectual disabilities, mental disorders, and trauma. And last year, it won a $40.2 million federal contract to house immigrant children separated from their parents at the border, saying it was “uniquely qualified” to detect and prevent sexual assault.
But my colleagues Lisa Gartner and Barbara Laker found that Devereux staff abused children for years — while red flags were ignored. At least 41 children as young as 12 have been raped or sexually assaulted by staff members in the last 25 years, according to their investigation, which relied on criminal cases, lawsuits, medical records, incident reports, therapy notes, pay stubs, text messages, police interviews and interviews with former residents, family members, staffers, attorneys, and law enforcement officers. Devereux has pledged to implement new procedures to address these issues.
“Harris represents the future and promise of this country. Her candidacy is historic and inspiring, not only for Black Americans, but for millions of Asian American voters, the fastest growing voting bloc in the country,” said a statement from a leader of a group that backs Indian American candidates.
That sentiment was echoed by many Democrats in the region following Joe Biden’s selection of Harris as his running mate. She is the first woman of color on a major presidential ticket. But some who hoped for a more liberal choice to pair with Biden’s relative centrism were more focused on winning November’s election than on enthusiasm for Harris.
At an emergency virtual hearing held by Philadelphia City Council yesterday, officials including District Attorney Larry Krasner, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, and councilmembers tried to come up with new strategies to combat the city’s spike in gun violence.
While the meeting did little to provide explanations for the increased violence, it did lay out the scale of the problems the city faces. It also provided a platform where officials expressed outrage and exhaustion, especially in relation to the shootings that have wounded or killed over 100 children in the city so far this year.
Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!
“But these players, some of whom are playing without a paycheck while the communities they came from struggle to make ends meet, have no reason to trust that the system that’s exploited them for so long will have their health and safety as the top priority. They’re being asked to play during a pandemic that has claimed more than 150,000 lives, disproportionately impacting Black communities and minorities as a whole.” — writes staff writer EJ Smith in a column about whether college football should be played this season.