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Archive for the ‘Department of Juvenile Justice’ Category

Children’s Rights Attorneys, DJJ Officials Dismayed at Juvenile Guard’s Reported Abuse of Teen

Attorneys and guardians who advocate for children’s rights and protection from abuse and neglect are alarmed after a video was released showing a guard at a juvenile prison battering a teenage detainee. The guard, Shannon Linn Abbott, 33, was arrested. Yet, after she bailed out of jail, she returned to her job the next day supervising children. Administrators with the Department of Juvenile Justice expressed dismay.

This week, the department officially requested that the privately managed youth prison’s director remove Abbott from having any access to children, the Miami Herald reported. A video is available on the Herald site.

“It is our expectation, at the very least, that this staff member will have no contact with youth in any of our programs,” wrote Laura K. Moneyham, a DJJ assistant secretary.

Florida DCF to Seek Budget Boost After Abuse, Death of Nubia Barahona

The abuse, torture and murder of Nubia Barahona, and the critical injuries and personal injury suffered by her twin brother, Victor, in West Palm Beach in February have the Florida Department of Children and Families seeking budget increases from state lawmakers to bolster child-protective investigations.

Although such action is commendable, the cutting of the budget to eliminate Quality Assurance workers and DCF’s lack of emphasis on the quality of case work is concerning. This reduces department oversight capabilities of their lead agencies and providers.

Nubia Barahona was found decomposing in the bed of her adoptive father’s pick-up truck three days after she’d been killed. Victor was in the passenger seat in critical condition. Both had been bound and brutalized – even as state investigators were outside the family home being misled by their adoptive mother, Carmen Barahona. Now, both Carmen and husband Jorge Barahona face first-degree murder charges.

According to Flagler Live, “A DCF budget proposal submitted this week seeks tens of millions of dollars to add and retain child-protective investigators, improve technology and better coordinate efforts with local law enforcement…The budget documents outline problems with high turnover among investigators, large caseloads and low pay.”

Read the entire story here.

Teen Dies in Lockup, Department of Juvenile Justice Staffers Suspended, Advocates Question Hiring, Promotions

In yet another case that leaves children’s rights advocates wondering how systems and fail safes put in place to protect the vulnerable and avoid damages and personal injury and wrongful death claims get side-stepped, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is investigating the death of a teen in its care – and under the watch of at least one employee with questionable work records, according to news reports.

Laryell King, a guard at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice West Palm Beach facility where an 18-year-old teen died, had been force to leave her last job. She even had a note in her file: “NO rehire in any position.” Another staffer, lockup superintendent Anthony C. Flowers, had his own “checkered work history,” notes The Miami Herald, after reviewing both staffers’ records. Yet, both were hired or promoted — and now are two of five staffers who were suspended after the death of Eric Perez, who died after a night of vomiting, complaining of headaches and possible hallucinations.

Child advocates and children’s rights attorneys are left to wonder why the two were rehired or promoted through the system. Read the entire Miami Herald story here.