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The agency in charge of caring for the city’s most vulnerable children took a reactive approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. City Paper’s Morgan Baskin reviewed hundreds of documents, some of which include internal emails, and interviewed staff to learn that the Child and Family Services Agency was far from prepared. 

As of May 29, at least two CFSA employees have died of COVID-19, while seven foster children who came through CFSA and nine employees tested positive for the disease. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser has said the city is equipped to look after its most vulnerable. In fact, Bowser cited this as the reason why DC Health would not account for cases in congregate settings, such as homeless shelters and DC Jail, in how it measures a sustained decrease in community spread, a metric required for Phase 1.    

“But ask the social workers serving some of D.C.’s most at-risk residents whether the city has taken care of its own, and their answers will throw the mayor’s statements off balance. At CFSA specifically, City Paper’s reporting shows that whether it’s equipping frontline workers with basic PPE or keeping the agency fully staffed, officials wasted precious time in the first weeks of the pandemic, at times misjudging the severity of what the next few months would bring,” writes Baskin for this week’s cover story

Read the full cover story online. And this isn’t Baskin’s first deep-dive into the troubled agency. Read about how the agency cut corners to escape court oversight online.  —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • At today’s press conference, Police Chief Peter Newsham says there were zero arrests in D.C. on Wednesday. 

  • June 3 COVID-19 data was not posted when it usually is around 10 a.m. Check the website to learn about additional deaths and cases. Bowser said Phase 2 metrics would be discussed this week. [EOM

  • In the wake of protests over police brutality, some are left asking whether the D.C. police force’s budget is too big and oversight of the department is too meager. [WCP]

  • Advocates warn that the mayor’s budget falls short of funding critical affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs. [StreetSense

  • The urbanist organizations speaking out about racial justice and white supremacy. [GGW

  • For D.C.’s black doctors, the pandemic is personal. [WAMU]


LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • On the sixth day of protests in D.C., Muriel Bowsershowed up. [Twitter]

  • At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman wants an independent audit of the Board of Elections. [Twitter]

  • Federal prison guards patrolling D.C. streets. [Daily Beast]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • World Central Kitchen has cooked close to 500,000 free meals at Nationals Park. Meet the woman who makes the massive operation move smoothly. [WCP]

  • Try Puebla-style sandwiches and tacos from a former China Chilcanopastry chef. [Washingtonian]

  • Ben & Jerry’s says it’s time to dismantle white supremacy. [Post]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • “Let’s Ride” is a warm collaboration between go-go artists and local professors preserving the culture. [WCP]

  • Alexandra Petri cheerfully skewers the present in her new book Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why. [WCP]

  • Governor Ralph Northam announces the removal of the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Richmond. [NPR]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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