Boynton Beach, FL – August 24, 2015 - The Palm Beach Post- DCF: 5-month-old’s death riddled with ‘conflicting stories’
The suspicious death of a Boynton Beach infant nearly a week ago is riddled with “conflicting stories,” according to a Department of Children and Families report released today.
Boynton Beach, FL – August 19, 2015 - The Palm Beach Post- Update: DCF investigating possible abuse of 5-month-old who died
Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed that an investigation was launched into the possible abuse of a 5-month-old Friday, spokeswoman Paige Patterson-Hughes said.
Delray Beach, FL – August 12, 2015 - The Sun-Sentinel- Deputy explains history, purpose of Baker Act
Speaking to a group of health care professionals at Arden Courts Alzheimer's Care Center in Delray Beach recently, Jeffrey B. Lefton, director of behavioral health services at Fair Oaks Pavilion at Delray Medical Center and a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputy, presented the history and purpose of the Baker Act.
Miami, FL – August 6, 2015 - CBS 4- Couple Accused Of Scamming DCF Out Of Thousands
A former Department of Children & Families employee and her husband, accused of scamming the state out of thousands of dollars in financial aid, will go before a judge on Thursday.
Cooper City, FL – July 31, 2015 - WSVN 7- Community meeting held in wake of child sex abuse allegations
Cooper City hosted a community conversation Thursday night after allegations surfaced that a former youth baseball coach had molested two boys.
Palatka, FL – July 28, 2015 - Action News Jax TV- 11-year-old accused of strangling 4-year-old; reports show history of violence
Deputies said they found the 4-year-old boy unresponsive Monday morning inside a single-wide mobile home that the Department of Children and Families said eight adults and four children lived inside.
Cooper City, FL – July 24, 2015 - The Miami Herald- Youth baseball coach is accused — again — of molestation
A youth league baseball coach — who had been previously charged but never convicted of molesting children under his supervision — has been arrested again.
Tallahassee, FL – July 21, 2015 - WTXL TV- DCF to Host Concert to Help Recruit Foster Parents for Teens
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is partnering up with several local organizations to host a concert and foster parent recruitment event for teenagers in foster care.
Jacksonville, FL – July 15, 2015 - News 4 Jax- Counselor charged with sexual battery, possession of child pornography
A counselor who was employed by Family Support Services, which is contracted the Department of Children and Families is accused of molesting a 17-year-old boy he worked with.
Greenacres, FL – July 10, 2015 - The Sun-Sentinel- Greenacres murder-suicide suspect raised no red flags during family check in 2013
A woman believed to have shot and killed her daughter and grandchildren last month in a murder-suicide did not raise any red flags in 2013 when state authorities met with her while investigating the family.
Riviera Beach, FL – July 7, 2015 - The Sun-Sentinel- Woman accused of child abuse after children found with bruises, burns
When doctors examined the childrens' bodies, they saw burns, bruises and bites.
Sunrise, FL – July 6, 2015 - Miami Herald- ‘Voodoo Priest’ accused of having sex with girl, 11
A South Florida ‘Voodoo priest’ is accused of having sex with an 11-year-old girl and police are searching for more possible victims, reported Miami Herald news partner CBS4.
Sarasota, FL – July 1, 2015 - News 10- Police, DCF familiar with mother accused of stabbing girl
As a 6-year-old Sarasota girl fights for her life in the hospital, her mother is in jail charged with attempted murder. Some who know the family believe that the Department of Children and Families failed the young girl.
Panama City, FL – June 25, 2015 - Orlando Sentinel- 3 charged with felony child neglect in Florida Panhandle
Three people face felony child neglect charges after officials found seven children, five adults and three dogs living in a filthy house in Florida's Panhandle.
Tallahassee, FL – June 23, 2015 - News Channel 8- DCF says wait times for abuse hotline are decreasing
Florida’s Department of Children and Families says it is making progress in bringing down wait times for its abuse hotline.
Broward County, FL – June 16, 2015 - The Sun-Sentinel- Broward pastor, school official guilty in sex abuse case
Jurors took just 3 1/2 hours Tuesday to find Jeffery London, a church youth pastor, charter school disciplinarian and unofficial foster parent, guilty of a federal sex abuse charge.
Volusia County, FL – June 15, 2015 - WFTV- Three charged with stopping DCF from checking on young boy
Three people are accused of refusing to allow the Department of Children and Families to check on the well-being of a child in Volusia County.
Indianapolis, IN– June 2, 2015 - WTTV CBS 4- Local agencies urge families to seek parenting help following several child deaths
It’s been a difficult week for child welfare agencies after two children were killed allegedly at the hand of a parent.
Tallahassee, FL – May 26, 2015 - WTXL TV- Florida's Department of Children and Families Offers Up Summer Safety Tips
With kids getting out of school for the summer, it's time to start thinking about keeping your child safe for the next few months before they head back to school.
Broward County, FL – May 7, 2015 - The Broward New Times- Boy sues ChildNet, says foster parent abused him
A child who was allegedly sexually abused by a foster parent has filed a lawsuit against welfare providers Kids in Distress Inc. and ChildNet Inc. because the agencies did not conduct proper background checks on the parent before issuing a foster parenting license.
Broward County, FL – May 7, 2015 - The Sun-Sentinel- Boy sues foster dad and Broward child groups over alleged sex abuse
A 7-year-old boy was sexually abused by his foster father after two Broward County child welfare groups failed to conduct proper background checks on the man, according to allegations in a civil lawsuit filed this week.
Hollywood, FL – April 30, 2015 - WFOR CBS 4 Miami- DCF Review Finds Fault In Handling Hollywood Boy Abuse Claims
A review by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of the handling of abuse reports prior to the death of Ahziya Osceola found faults with the investigations.
Hollywood, FL – April 29, 2015 - The Miami Herald- Report: Child abuse experts failed dead 3-year-old Hollywood boy
As the bumps, bruises, fingerprints, scratches and abrasions accumulated on Ahziya Osceola’s 30-pound body, the state workers whose job it was to protect him paid little heed, failing to identify and stanch “a pattern of repeat injuries” that ultimately led to the Broward County boy’s death, a report said Wednesday.
Orlando, FL – April 28, 2015 - WFLA News Channel 8- Florida abuse hotline data shows longer wait times
Average wait times to call the state's abuse hotline reached up to 20 minutes on some days during the past two months, according to data from the Department of Children and Families.
Tallahassee, FL – April 20, 2015 - CBS Miami- DCF Faulted For Oversight Of Privatized Agencies
Two reports presented to lawmakers last week criticized the Florida Department of Children and Families for poor oversight of the privatized agencies that deliver child-welfare, substance-abuse and mental-health services statewide.
Tallahassee, FL – April 14, 2015 - The Tallahassee Democrat- Sun shines on Children's Week
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum read a book outside of the House Building on Tuesday while thousands of children, their parents and child advocates ate and took in some sunshine.
Tallahassee, FL – April 7, 2015 - ABC News- New Law Tells States to Seek 'Normalcy' for Foster Children
Not so long ago, if foster children in Florida wanted to spend the night at a friend's house, the parents hosting the sleepover faced a criminal background check.
Sarasota, FL – April 6, 2015 - WFLA- Sarasota couple charged with child neglect, 5 kids found in deplorable conditions
A Sarasota couple has been charged with child neglect after deputies found five children living in deplorable conditions.
Broward County, FL – March 26, 2015 - The Sun-Sentinel- Father, stepmother charged after boy's body found in box; dad bonds out of jail
The body of Ahziya Drew Osceola was found in the family's residence in the 5400 block of Johnson Street.
Broward County, FL – March 25, 2015 - The Miami Herald- Signs unheeded before Hollywood boy’s cruel death
The purple bruises on either side of Ahizya Osceola’s jaw were telltale signs: Someone, a child abuse expert said, had grabbed the 3-year-old’s face forcefully enough to leave fingerprints.
Broward County, FL – March 17, 2015 - Miami Herald- Misconduct found at privately run child-welfare agency
Workers at Broward County’s privately run child welfare agency spent so much time doing free work at the Miami-Dade home of their boss that they jokingly called it the “Coral Gables office.”
Tallahassee, FL – March 11, 2015 - WCTV- Fla. Department of Health Directs Additional Funding to Services for Florida's Children
Today the Florida Department of Health highlighted its commitment to serving families across the state through the structural enhancement of programs in the Division of Children’s Medical Services (CMS).
Gainesville, FL – March 4, 2015 - The Gainesville Sun- Advocate for children
As an attorney, Gloria Fletcher was a staunch client advocate. As a champion for the children, she was a zealous child advocate.
Maryland/Texas – March 4, 2015 - BuzzFeed- Board Members Of Troubled Foster-Care Company Have Little To Say About Abuses
A recent BuzzFeed News investigation into the nation’s largest for-profit foster care company revealed deaths, sex abuse, and serious lapses in the training and oversight of foster parents.
Tallahassee, FL – March 3, 2015 - WCTV- Bill Seeks Money for Sexual Abuse Victim
A 21-year-old man who was sexually abused as a child is one step closer to receiving 5 million dollars from the Florida Department of Children and Families. The Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved that claims bill.
West Palm Beach, FL – February 23, 2015 - The Palm Beach Post- Commentary: DCF’s Orwellian response to child thrown from bridge
It’s not every day that a divorce lawyer reports her own client to the state’s child abuse hotline.
Tallahassee, FL – February 18, 2015 - The Tampa Bay Times- Senate President Andy Gardiner wants review of services after Phoebe Jonchuck's death
Senate President Andy Gardiner wants the state to focus more on mental-health issues after the child-welfare system was stunned by the death of a 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck whose father is accused of dropping her into Tampa Bay.
Tampa, FL – February 9, 2015 - The Tampa Bay Times- DCF acknowledges failures in its handling of Phoebe Jonchuck case
Florida's child welfare agency acknowledged Monday that it failed to protect a 5-year-old girl before she was dropped to her death last month, missing opportunities to respond to concerns for her well-being.
Tallahassee, FL – February 5, 2015 - News4Jax- Florida lawmakers question training, supervision at DCF
Lawmakers are questioning training and supervision at the state's child abuse hotline after the Florida Department of Children and Families acknowledged that it missed at least two opportunities to save a 5-year-old girl who was thrown off a bridge by her troubled father.
Tallahassee, FL – February 4, 2015 - The Tampa Bay Times- Child welfare officials on defensive over child death 'transparency'
Florida’s top child welfare officials were on the defensive before a House committee on Wednesday as they defended an annual report on child deaths that had been stripped of data and embarrassing details about the state’s role in failing to protect the children whose lives were lost.
Tallahassee, FL – January 22, 2015 - The Tampa Tribune- Lawmakers grill DCF chief on Jonchuck death
In the wake of a death of 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck this month, lawmakers Thursday heard from the secretary of the Florida Department of Children & Families about how the case might affect efforts to reform the state’s troubled child-welfare system.
Tallahassee, FL – January 16, 2015 - WFSU- After Most Recent Child Death, Bipartisan Duo To Look Into Tweaks To DCF Law
As the Florida Legislature returns next week, a bipartisan duo of lawmakers could be looking at making some more changes on top of a new law overhauling Florida’s child welfare agency.
Tallahassee, FL – January 13, 2015 - News4Jax- DCF: No quick fix to child safety issues
Florida’s Department of Children and Families says there will be no quick fix in ensuring child safety. The fallout from the deaths of a child and teenager in the past week is prompting change in the agency.
Miami, FL – December 31, 2014 - The Miami Herald- Florida illegally deprived needy kids of healthcare, judge rules
A federal judge Wednesday declared Florida’s healthcare system for needy and disabled children to be in violation of several federal laws, handing a stunning victory to doctors and children’s advocates who have fought for almost a decade to force the state to pay pediatricians enough money to ensure impoverished children can receive adequate care.
Jacksonville, FL – December 29, 2014 - The Florida Times Union- Jacksonville mother of child abandoned in vehicle charged with neglect
Jacksonville police have filed a child-neglect charge against a woman accused of abandoning a baby girl, whom she later identified as her daughter, in a stranger’s vehicle Saturday.
Miami, FL – December 20, 2014 - The Miami Herald- Transparency Lost: Little disclosure on child deaths
In December 2009, the state panel that reviews child abuse deaths released a 179-page report. The document included a detailed analysis of what killed Florida children the year before, dozens of charts and graphs describing both the victims and perpetrators of child abuse, and brief memorials for several of the youngsters whose lives were cut short.
Lake Mary, FL – December 18, 2014 - My Fox Orlando- Report: Fla tops national list of child abuse, neglect cases
Florida is at the top of the list in terms of the number of child abuse and neglect cases across the country that proved fatal according to a recently released Associated Press investigation.
Tallahassee, FL – December 14, 2014 - The Miami Herald- State puts on hold settlement payment to Nubia Barahona’s brother
When the state of Florida quietly agreed to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit over the gruesome death of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona and the torture of her twin brother, Victor, it all but admitted it was at fault.
Port Orange, FL – December 4, 2014 - Daytona Beach News-Journal- Children in peril deserve better
When the Florida Department of Children and Families responded to reports of three children in potential danger at a Port Orange home in June, an investigation detailed complaints that the mother drank excessively and sometimes struck the children.
Tallahassee, FL – December 2, 2014 - WUSF News- Scott Urged To Make Interim Secretaries Permanent at DCF, DJJ
As he gets ready to start a second term, Gov. Rick Scott will have to choose leaders for the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Both agencies are operating under interim secretaries, and Scott's choice at the Department of Children and Families will be particularly scrutinized.
Jacksonville, FL – November 26, 2014 - News4Jax- Child welfare system looks to institute to help 'steer a course'
After months of reports about problems in Florida's child-welfare system, lawmakers this year approved a sweeping reform bill that included establishing an institute to guide state leaders, in part, by evaluating the success of their policies.
Jacksonville, FL – November 18, 2014 - News4Jax- Florida Children's cabinet sets new course
Members of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet on Tuesday said they wanted to re-establish the cabinet as a "bully pulpit" for children, with better coordination among the state agencies that serve kids and more political backing from Gov. Rick Scott.
Jacksonville, FL – November 13, 2014 - News4Jax- Doctors concerned over child abuse deaths
Doctors and nurses at Wolfson Children's Hospital said they're extremely concerned after dealing with several cases of children dying because of abuse.
Milam County, TX – November 6, 2014 - The Houston Press- Texas Girl Was Taken Away From Parents Because They Smoked Pot, Only to Be Killed in Foster Care
Little Alex Hill would have been turning four-years-old this Friday. But rather than celebrating their child's birthday, the toddler's parents have only the bitter consolation of seeing a judge in Milam County hand Alex's foster mother a life sentence for murder.
Tallahassee, FL– November 2, 2014 - The Tallahassee Democrat- Know how election would affect kids
Florida’s child advocates who fight for the rights of at-risk children are not satisfied with where the Florida governor’s race has placed children’s issues on the list of talking points.
Broward County, FL– October 23, 2014 - The Miami Herald- As Broward child wasted away, protectors looked but didn’t see
For about nine months, foster care caseworkers and their bosses made 13 visits to the Lauderhill home of Tamiyah Audain, held 30-minute meetings, conferred with other social service workers and filed numerous reports, all of which documented the preteen was in good health. She was actually losing half her body weight and slowly filling with poisons.
Tallahassee, FL– October 22, 2014 - The Daily Business Review- Advocates Say Children's Issues Missing From Campaign
Florida children may not be able to vote for governor, but they still have a lot at stake in the race. And as the campaign hurtles to a close, advocates say they're frustrated that the future of the state's youngest residents hasn't played a larger role in the discussion.
Miami, FL– October 15, 2014 - The Tampa Tribune- Scott claim of fewer child abuse deaths questioned
Republican Gov. Rick Scott repeatedly tells voters that abused and neglected children are safer under his leadership than when his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist was governor, but an Associated Press examination of that claim shows that campaign claim may be an exaggeration.
Port St. Lucie, FL– October 9, 2014 - WESH 2 Orlando- DCF didn't fully vet foster Florida dad charged with death
The Florida Department of Children and Families may not have fully vetted a Port St. Lucie foster parent charged with murdering a 2-year-old boy in his care.
Bell, FL– September 29, 2014 - ABC Action News- Sheriff: DCF was warned about Don Spirit in 2013, now accused of killing six children, daughter
Alachua County's sheriff says Florida's child welfare agency was warned in 2013 that a man who fatally shot his daughter and six grandchildren should be kept away from them.
Bell, FL– September 24, 2014 - Action News Jax- Bell shooting: Warning signs reported more than a year ago
A new report obtained from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office shows a deputy assisted Department of Children and Families interviewing the Spirit family children and their grandmother in early June 2013.
Bell, FL– September 22, 2014 - The Miami Herald- DCF was alerted 2 weeks before deadly rampage in Bell, Florida
The Spirit family that child welfare investigators confronted two weeks ago presented a volatile mix: two drug-abusing adults, six small children and a history of violence.
Miami, FL– September 18, 2014 - The Miami Herald- Miami-Dade, Monroe get new DCF chief
The Department of Children & Families has appointed a new chief for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, another change for an agency that has been criticized for failing to protect children from abusive caretakers.
Winter Park, FL– September 17, 2014 - The Orlando Sentinel- Workers abused autistic residents at Winter Park home, officials say
Three former employees of a Winter Park residential home for people with autism were charged with abuse, officials said Tuesday.
Miami, FL– September 15, 2014 - The Miami Herald- Nubia Barahona’s adoptive sister sues DCF
The adoptive sister of Nubia Barahona, the child whose gruesome death while under the care of her adoptive father and mother shook Florida a few years ago, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Florida Department of Children & Families, a child welfare worker, and two former DCF investigators.
Mt. Dora, FL– September 14, 2014 - NBC News- 'Mom, Please Help': FBI Probing Alleged Abuse of Deaf, Autistic Kids
The FBI is investigating the alleged abuse and neglect of vulnerable deaf and autistic children at a residential treatment center in Florida, NBC News has learned.
Tallahassee, FL– August 29, 2014 - The Daily Business Review- Child Death Review Panel Sets Ambitious Agenda
The state panel charged with reviewing child deaths set an ambitious agenda against a tight deadline in hopes of reducing as many child deaths as possible.
Broward County, FL– August 28, 2014 - The Sun-Sentinel- Let a girl starve to death, you should get in trouble
How do you let a 12-year-old disabled girl starve to death slowly?
Broward County, FL– August 27, 2014 - The Miami Herald- Florida child welfare worker, 3 others charged in girl’s starvation death
Four women were charged in connection with the death of 12-year-old Tamiyah Audain, who died of starvation.
Miami, FL– August 18, 2014 - The Miami Herald- DCF was warned before boy was mauled to death by father's dogs
Three years before Javon Dade Jr. was mauled to death by his father’s dogs, state child protection workers were warned about “the smell and danger” of the six “untrained dogs” living in an apartment with Javon’s family.
Tallahassee, FL– August 16, 2014 - My News 13- Florida DCF system to be used in national pilot program
A system used by the Florida Department of Children and Families will be used as model in an upcoming national pilot project.
Miami, FL– August 13, 2014 - The Bradenton Herald- DCF accused of rigging grand jury findings in a report Miami judge calls a 'fraud'
Critics of a grand jury report citing improvements at DCF — including some members of the grand jury — say the panel heard only one side.
Naples, FL– July 31, 2014 - The Naples Florida Weekly- Foster Care’s Looming Crisis
More children are entering the child welfare system. More foster parents are needed to love these children as their own, then let them go.
Tallahassee, FL– July 26, 2014 - The Florida Times Union- Expert advocates 'baby court' for traumatized infants, toddlers
An expert on childhood trauma urged members of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet to promote a “baby court” model in which judges, lawyers and caseworkers put the needs of traumatized infants and toddlers before any other considerations.
Jacksonville, FL– July 26, 2014 - The Florida Times Union- As DCF opens child death data, it still may not be enough
The vignettes are stark and the statistics grim, but the depth of a new Department of Children and Families website that tracks child deaths is falling short of some early expectations.
Daytona Beach, FL– July 23, 2014 - The Daytona Beach News-Journal- Help reduce child deaths
The Florida Department of Children & Families is committed to reducing child deaths. This is an achievable goal, but we can’t reach it alone. To make progress, we need the community’s help and we need it now.
Tampa, FL– July 16, 2014 - The Miami Herald- Finding foster homes for 800 special needs kids
Florida child welfare officials are pleading with residents to consider opening their home to a foster child with special needs.
Tallahassee, FL– July 14, 2014 - The Naples Daily News- Florida has more than 1,400 new foster homes
Florida has more than 1,400 new foster homes.
Apopka, FL– July 11, 2014 - WFTV Channel 9- Foster mom bonds out of jail after child left in car at Publix
A foster care parent bonded out of the Orange County Jail Friday morning after police said she left a young child in a car at a Publix grocery store on Thursday.
Tampa Bay, FL– July 9, 2014 - The Tampa Bay Times- Law protecting children requires followup, funding
With regard to recent reports about the 477 children who died who were known by the Department of Children and Families to potentially be at risk, the cases all involved the DCF's knowledge from prior investigations of children who would be in danger of future serious harm or death if left with their families.
Tampa, FL– July 8, 2014 - the Tampa Tribune- New child-safety law must be monitored
With regard to recent reports about the deaths of 477 children who were known by the Florida Department of Children and Families to potentially be at risk, the cases all involved DCF’s knowledge from prior investigations of children who would be in danger of future serious harm or death if left with their families.
Tallahassee, FL– June 26, 2014 - WFSU- Scott Signs Last Bill Of 2014 Session Aimed At Helping Florida's Disabled Kids
Governor Rick Scott has signed the final bill delivered to his desk into law Wednesday aimed at helping children with special needs.
Tallahassee, FL– June 23, 2014 - The Palm Beach Post- Fla. governor signs bill to overhaul child welfare
In response to a series of damning media reports about the deaths of children who had contact with the Department of Children and Families before their deaths, Governor Rick Scott signed a law today which strengthens child welfare laws and increases resources to protect children from abuse and neglect.
Tampa, FL– June 20, 2014 - The Tampa Bay Times- Fight scourge of domestic violence
Child advocate attorneys like myself often fight in courtrooms and the public realm to protect the rights, health and welfare of Florida's at-risk children. But all too often, the worst abuses go on in places we cannot see or reach — behind a family's closed doors.