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Archive for the ‘Abuse’ Category

Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas sheriff blasted foster agency, but his investigators removed children at a higher rate than any other county

December 21st, 2021   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri in November announced a criminal investigation into Eckerd Connects after a child was injured and another overdosed at an unlicensed Largo office where foster children that the agency could not place slept in “deplorable conditions.”

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Florida Today: Police investigation: DCF alerted at least 6 times before mother charged with manslaughter of infant son

As reported by Florida Today, a police investigation revealed the state Department of Children and Family Services had been called at least six times regarding abuse allegations in the case of a mother who now faces a charge of manslaughter in connection to the death of her infant son.

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Florida DCF confirmed flaws with the handling of child abuse complaints concerning foster parents following USA TODAY story

Several tragic cases of Justice for Kids Partner Stacie Schmerling were recently featured in USA Today concerning the failures of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to investigate and respond to credible complaints against foster care providers to ensure children are safe.

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Disturbing Video of Violent Child Abuse Leads to the Arrest of Two Daycare Employees

October 14th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse

The unimaginable happened when a Tampa, Florida resident noticed her one-year-old son experiencing serious pain in his leg. She cautiously took him to the hospital for an examination and was shocked to learn that her child was found with multiple fractures in his leg as a result of physical abuse. This revelation initiated an investigation by the Hillsborough Sheriff’s office that led to Time of Wonder Daycare surrendering their surveillance tapes.

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WESH 2: Foster dad accused of abusing 4 children ordered back to jail

July 27th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse

As reported by WESH 2 news in Orlando, a foster father accused of raping and molesting a young girl in his care is now facing additional charges involving a second young victim.

Read the full story here. 

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Another Death of a Child Known to DCF

On November 6, 2020, Florida lost another child that had been repeatedly involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). 22-month-old Rashid Bryant was pronounced dead at Miami Jackson North Medical Center. The cause? Complications of acute and chronic blunt force injuries, attributable to “parental neglect,” according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner. Read more from the Miami Herald.

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Northern Illinois Academy to Shutdown Permanently Following an Investigation Over Allegations of Child-on-child Sexual Abuse, Treatment & Safety Concerns

May 19th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse

A residential school operated by Sequel Youth and Family Services is set to permanently shutdown its operations. Northern Illinois Academy (NIA), located in Aurora, Illinois, is an 87-bed facility that receives funding from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). Children suffering from mental illness, autism, mood disorders, and/or developmental delays were sent to the facility for treatment. According to a recent report based on an investigation conducted by Equip for Equality’s Abuse Investigation Unit, NIA and its parent company, Sequel Youth and Family Services, are unwilling to provide sufficient resources to resolve the existing treatment and safety concerns. These identified problems include a lack of meaningful programing, unsafe restraint practices, problems with de-briefing, failure to identify/report incidents of restraints and seclusion, inaccurate reporting of incidents, complaints regarding time youth spend in their rooms, restricting residents from communication devices, and significant program failures in the Blackhawk unit.

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In Memory of a Foster Child that Died a Year Ago After a Chokehold, Michigan is to Ban the Use of Restraints on Children Living in Group Homes

April 30th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

On April 29, 2020, 16-year-old Cornelius Fredrick  threw a sandwich at another child during lunch at Lakeside Academy, a Sequel Youth and Family Services facility for at risk children in Michigan. In response to the sandwich incident, seven adult male staff members held little Cornelius on the floor for more than 10 minutes, putting weight on his legs and torso. Cornelius died two days later at a hospital. He was a foster child whose mother had died four years prior.

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Foster children are being sent to out-of-state mental health facilities where they are abandoned, abused, and sexually assaulted.

April 16th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse

A last resort procedure available to child welfare officials is sending foster children to out-of-state mental health institutions. Usually, these fragile children suffer from severe medical and psychiatric disorders that require specialized care. However, officials have been abusing this option, especially in Illinois, by using it far too often and then ignoring these children when they suffer physical and sexual abuse by other residents or facility employees. Although police and facility employees have documented instances of harm, far too often state officials fail to intervene and help these vulnerable youth.

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Father Known to DCF Who Abused, Neglected and Starved Toddler to Death Takes Plea, Gets 20-year Sentence

Five months after his wife, Kristen Meyer, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for the death of their infant daughter, Alejandro Aleman pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter of a child and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, as reported by CBS 12.

This issue arises from terrible circumstances that took place in Palm Beach County back in 2016.  Alejandro and his wife had 10 children at the time and kept them all in “deplorable” living conditions.  Investigators discovered a home with mildew, insects, and feces smeared on the walls.  The victim, Tayla, was merely 7 pounds at the time of her death when she was 13 months old.  Tayla was severely malnourished and was infected with E. coli, influenza, and pneumonia at the time of her death.

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Foster Kids Starved, Beaten and Sexually Abused, Reports Show Few Caregivers are Punished

A new USA Today article highlights daunting details regarding the systemic issues in Florida’s child welfare system.  In the last five years, there have been nearly 5,000 calls to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) abuse hotline from various concerned members of the community.  These calls come from teachers, healthcare professionals, day care workers, neighbors, and more.  The complaints often warn of child abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment, etc.  The number of foster care complaints filed against foster parents, group homes, and guardians rose by roughly 54% over the past five years.  There is a direct correlation between the surge in referrals and 2014 legislation that made it easier to seize children from their parents to place them in state care.  A consequence of the changes in the law includes having more children in need of foster care with no real place to send them.

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More than 600 Children Separated, Caged, Abused, and Neglected by U.S. Government

November 18th, 2020   No Comments   Abuse

The U.S. immigration crisis has led to the placement of 666 children, in cages, subjecting them to varying abuse and neglect from the Government which their parents sought protection. Instead of being placed in safe foster homes which the U.S. government requires of the states who remove children from the parents, an estimated 666 children have been ripped away from parents, placed in cages, and deprived of basic love, empathy, and kindness.

Cognitive development is critical for a child’s well-being; unfortunately, when the Limbic, an area of the brain that controls emotions and behavioral actions, and the Cortex system, an area of the brain which involves abstract thinking, is subject to abuse and neglect during the first five years of a child’s life, the brain cannot fully develop. This early set-back subjects a child to permanent lifelong trauma, irrepealable harm and has a detrimental effect on the remainder of the child’s life and even the community at large.

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