Philadelphia Caseworker Charged in Connection to Child's Beating Death

A Philadelphia caseworker has been charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and other counts in connection to the July beating death of a 3-year-old child in foster care.

Jendayi Mawusi, 25, was charged and arrested Monday in connection to the death of Hope Jones. Mawusi worked for a subcontractor through the city’s Department of Human Services, monitoring the cases of children in foster care.

No attorney information was listed for Mawusi in court records as of Tuesday.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Kranser said in a statement Tuesday that from Mawusi’s reports, it was clear that the girl’s health had deteriorated during her placement in the foster home. He said Mawusi allegedly failed to follow up on instructions she gave to the child’s foster mother to seek medical care for her and failed to file incident reports after observing injuries, including just hours before the girl died.

Jones’ foster mother, 30-year-old Kiana Casey, was charged in July with murder and related charges after medics were called to her home, performed CPR on the child and took her to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Court records showed that Casey was being held in jail awaiting a preliminary hearing as of Tuesday. Phone calls to her attorney were not returned Tuesday and his voicemail was full and unable to accept messages.

Krasner said in his release Tuesday that medical examiners determined that Jones had suffered blunt force trauma, but also that she had multiple previous wounds in various states of healing, indicating “that the deceased child had sustained significant physical abuse on repeated occasions.”

“We allege that Mawusi repeatedly failed to investigate and intervene during what should have been obvious signs of physical harm inflicted on Hope Jones during her tragically short life,” Krasner wrote.

There have been a handful of other cases when social workers were charged in connection to the deaths of children in Philadelphia’s child welfare system. In 2008, a grand jury indicted nine people, including four social workers — two DHS employees, and two case workers from a contracted social-services agency — who were later charged in connection to the 2006 death of 14-year-old Danieal Kelly.

Kelly, who had cerebral palsy, weighed just 42 pounds when she died of starvation and neglect. One of the contracted workers charged in that case was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Kelly’s death, along with investigative work by the local press, led to sweeping reforms at the city-run department and a change in leadership.