City Desk

City Terminates Families Forward Contract


Flanked by Attorney General Peter Nickles and Department of Human Services Director Clarence Carter, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced at an 11 a.m. press conference that the city is terminating Families Forward's contract to run D.C. General's family shelter at the end of the month. Families Forward was notified by DHS this morning.

Allegations of terrible shelter conditions and mismanagement and inappropriate contact between staffers and residents first came to light on City Desk. There were also the deaths of two newborns which you can read about here and here and here.

For the remainder of the month, the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, which coordinates homeless services throughout the city, will directly manage D.C. General with the help of a few vetted Families Forward staffers. Beginning May 1, the Community Partnership will be charged with overseeing the shelter and will coordinate the transition as the city seeks a new provider.

Fenty provided a brief narrative of what led to the termination. It started with a letter from a resident known as P.H. The letter was forwarded to DHS, which investigated the allegations. DHS was able to substantiate many of them. Carter said his agency didn't just confirm previously reported instances of staffers having sex with employees, but uncovered two more. He described the allegations of sexual misconduct as possibly involving "coercion" or a "quid pro quo." In an interview, he said he was troubled that Families Forward didn't notify the city—he believes there was a real intent not to.

"The potential coercive nature of the allegations really curdles my milk," he said.

Two Families Forward employees were fired, as was a private security guard.

Fenty said the old days of D.C. government, when agencies weren't held responsible, are over. When the city does an investigation, he said, "we will also do so in a public way."

Nickles praised Carter, saying, "I'm very proud of Clarence Carter here. ... This was a model of how to treat serious allegations of impropriety." When DHS got the letter, Nickles said, Carter didn't put it "in a file cabinet." On March 24, he said, the Community Partnership established a hotline so shelter residents could report complaints. On March 29, Carter submitted a preliminary investigatory report to the AG's office; the same day, the findings were transferred to the office of the inspector general.

The OIG has since recommended the case be transferred to the D.C. Police Department for investigation. It's now in police hands.

Carter said: "We have a responsibility to act, and act decisively."

Nickles said of P.H.'s whistleblowing letter: "That's what you need. If there's an issue, tell us, we will do something about it."

Fenty also stated that Families Forward will not be considered for any city contracts again, that it will be put on the District's "ban" list. The nonprofit will also lose its contract to run a transitional housing complex in Columbia Heights.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Ward One Resident

    Congratulations Cherkis

  • Truelive

    Its not like these insitutions were helping poor people! Proor, poor Fently, what a waste of talent governing the mayors office. Sure, you"ve lashed out again. Whats next? I know, ban sewage and water connections to all DC poor people homes. That'll stink really good along with your tenure in office.

  • candi miles

    The reasons given for closing the shelters and firing staff are a farce. In fact, four years ago females were awakened during the secret hours of the night to find lesbian staff starring at them while their covers were hanging a bit off of some of the pretty naked bodies they would drool over, male staff walking into cubicles not wanting to leave starring at pretty ladies telling them that they were very pretty, drug bags were the new flowers that adorned the grounds by the hundreds and great amounts of alcohol being drank right in front of the staff with full permission especially if the staff got a swig and all of this was no secret to all staff including Mr. Shappel who tried to shut up a nice, beautiful lady who was reporting the stuff she saw so a psychologist told the lady, and that psychologist was on the prowl too throughout the shelters and picked out women he thought were extremely pretty or extremely loose to do God knows with.
    Child abuse of the worst kind went on there 24/7 directly in front of staff even in front of a so called parenting class teacher and she did nothing, and if a lady reported the abuse she was told to shut up by staff and staff would protect the abusive parent. The staff would call the lady mentally crazy and other names to shut her up. The lady was a college grad. drug free and hated the very hint of child abuse. The horrific conditions of the shelter and the staff confused the lady as she did not understand that this was really going on like something out of a horror movie. That was DC Village.

    Park rd. shelter was filled with extremely dangerous social workers that weren't fit to watch over cows would physically attack the nice women and not the ones that would give them a good beat down and when that lady tried to report it to police that she was assaulted by a black female social worker they told her "there is nothing we can do at all". When severe child abuse was in full affect one family reported it to the social workers pronto in the shelter and the lady was told "it's ok, it's our culture". It was no secret that drugs ran through the shelters quicker than water raging through a river.

    The so called staff that will remain are very good friends with Mr. Shapell and those staff encouraged beyond a shadow of a doubt rape, illicit sex, assault and just pure craziness and that's fact.

    Were all of these things reported? yes, to OIG, DHS and on, but the black investigators who were sent out severely harassed and endangered the one lady who was reporting this. That lady was threatened by staff that she would not get nice housing and not much help by one of the head social workers for reporting to people and that she would indeed not be treated with great disrespect and discrimination and she was.

    Columbia Heights Shaw Collaborative should be chopped up too for similar reasons especially for giving out information on clients medical records to other clients and harassing clients.

    Those places were made of up of black staff people, so because I was new to DC at the time and never lived around all blacks I was traumatized by what I saw and by what I went through thus leading me to despise all black women and a good portion of black males in any authoritative position in DC, after all they were and still are the abusers and protected by Mr. Shappel, DHS and an OIG investigator.

    After I had gone through this I felt like I was worth nothing and that I had done something to deserve the horrific abuses and began to lose my upbeat and smiley manner that cared about all people, I also became stagnant and that was their goal!!! Out right Stupidity, ignorance, abuse and jealousy are the main traits of the contractors and the people who run and work in the shelters. I suppose nothing will change at all with the shelter environment and those type of people who will still be running those hell holes!!!

    Got it now?


  • DC Hoodrat


    How did you end up homeless? It sounds like you were one of those trifling ass people who thinks someone owes you something when no one really owes you a thing.

  • LOL

    Too mean Hoodrat! LOL!

  • Jason Cherkis

    Hoodrat: So you think homeless residents do not deserve to be treated humanely?

  • http://deleted candycane1

    Another article states that Fenty received a letter regading the conditions of this facility in 2006 when he was a "councilmember".(Jim Graham as well) It is now 2010 and of course the election year and he's just getting around to it? WOW!!!

  • Heartbroken

    I'm aware of many six figured income families that because of circumstances beyond their control now find themselves homeless and destitute. Before we cast the wide net of blame and denunciation of these families remember, that before the recession there were many families that believed that their financial situation was stable and safe until that one pay check was missed, or the unexpected layoff occurred or that medical emergency happened only to watch their savings disappear and life forever changed.

  • tired

    These are people not animals and should be treated as such with respect and dignity. Nobody ask to be homeless and I am sure no one wants to be . We all may be 1 paycheck away from the same plight. This is heartbreaking and don't say they brought it on themselves. All I can say is don't get sick or get laid off . What would happen if the company decides to relocate oh I forgot that was also their fault.

  • DC Hoodrat


    What has your dumb white ass done for the homeless? These people are crackhead, fertile MORONS. They should be in jail for breeding children like dogs that they can't care for.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Hoodrat: You are too depressing to engage in any kind of dialogue. Don't you have a tea party meeting to organize?


    TO: CANDI MILES: I GIVE YOU ALL THE PRAISES FROM GOD AND THE HEAVENS ABOVE. YOU TOLD THE STORY TO THE BEAR TRUTH! I STILL STRUGGLE FROM MY RECENT DEPARTURE FRP, DC GENERA; AMD THE COMMUNITY OF HOPE FAMILY SHELTER. THE SAME THINGS ARE GOING ON THERE ALSO. I HELD IN THE ANGER, CONTROLLED IT FOR SO LONG, to see my children lured around and not listen to me, nearly getting rapped (my girl and boy, staying into units of 2 females as a partner, the juvenile court clerk weekend monitor cover the crimes and write false report on innocent residents, to cover the abuses. Many that I talk to from D.C. Village, still have trauma's from the things we encountered with the staff and their select residents who sexually assaulted many of the girls from 9 -15 and the females that saduced the men in the shelters. I recently found out that a 16 yr. old girl had a baby by one of the 28 yr old male residents from D.C. Village, their mother was being abused by the staff and could not help her children. I am somewhat withdrawn and now sickly from living in these conditions enduring such abuses. The City Mental Health Services only have false reports in the records to give you poor mental health services that you don't need, but put money into many pockets and HEALING TO THE SPIRIT AND SOUL, GIVEN MEDICATIONS THAT CAUSE YOU HEALTH TO GO DOWN, TO BEING UNABLE TO WORK. SO MUCH MONEY THE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR POOR SERVICES TO ITS RESIDENT! THE POLICE HAS FALSIFIED THE STATEMENT ALSO, AS THEY BELIEVE THE LIES OF THE SHELTER STAFF AND KEEP ONE IN AN ABUSIVE MENTAL STATE.

  • candi miles

    Subject: 3-31-10 hearing on Families Forward & the rest of the bunch

    During that zombified hearing the camera would zoom in and out periodically and when the camera zoomed out I saw something strange. I saw what looked like the evil and murderous actions of Darfur written all over the faces of Carter, Buford, Ruby and Salters.
    Has anyone noticed that the four people mentioned had no human concern nor any human sorrow. Their faces emotionless and their eyes spoke of deceit with a vengeance for blood toward the most vulnerable they were to help.
    Needy families never get anything out of this and that system as those who run and operate those programs make a killing off of the homeless!

    Worst crime, hurt and destroy your own kind/race! Make no mistake that good white and black folks are crucifying the names and characters of those four traitors and those that followed them.

    Jail should be there home on earth and hell their eternity for the many lives, minds and futures they scarred and destroyed with deliberate intent harboring no regret!

    Question, what government heads knew of the atrocities for a long time and did nothing? almost all of them!