What is FCA?

Child Advocacy Blog


Florida Foster Care Round-Up: Leekin Damage Suit for Fraud — & Kids Failed by the System

A 7-year-old foster child, a career criminal and the Florida Department of Children and Families led the headlines regarding the foster care and child welfare arena across Florida and the nation over the past few weeks. Here are summaries of some of those and other stories…

In one of the biggest stories, The New York Times reported on April 30 in Suit Contends City Failed to Prevent Adoption Fraud, how lawyers contended in a lawsuit that New York City violated the rights of 10 disabled children who were adopted more than a decade ago by Judith Leekin, a former Queens woman now in a Florida jail and who abused them and used government subsidies meant for their care to support a lavish lifestyle.

The Miami Herald on April 30 wrote State probes apparent suicide of foster child, 7, an opening reporting salvo by journalists and columnists in what we expect to be a very chilling and alarming case – that of Gabriel Myers, the boy who took his own life at a Broward County foster home after a stormy nine-month odyssey through the state foster-care system and the questionable use of psychotropic drugs used to quell problem children.

That same day, CBS 4 in Miami prepared an “I-Team” report, DCF Probes Drugs Prescribed To Foster Kids, focusing on how the Department of Children and Families chief reacted to the news and ordered an internal review of what drugs Florida foster care children receive.

Herald columnist Fred Grimm also wrote, Child’s death was anything but a suicide, noting how “calling the death of Gabriel Myers a ‘suicide’ lets his killers off the hook,” and how his case exposes “a vast conspiracy of abuse and neglect and malpractice.”

Among other stories over the past several weeks, Florida News-Journal Online reported in “Bill Gives Foster Kids Access” that a bill that passed in early May would help former and current foster children get access to their own records to help with their medical histories, Social Security cards, birth certificates and other information after legislation passed Friday. An Orlando Sentinel columnist wrote, in “Foster-Care Grads Still Need Help,” foster grads like Suzi McQueen – 18, but unprepared by the foster system for adult life – face uncertain futures once they “age out” of foster care.

In more promising news, USAToday reported a new trend afoot in its story, Would-be Parents Turn to Foster Kids as Adoption Costs Rise. It seems the recession has pushed the high cost of private adoptions out of reach for many prospective parents, prompting more of them to look into adopting hard-to-place foster children.

Our goal for Florida Child Advocate is to follow local and national news stories and columns on issues important to the foster care and advocacy communities – and provide links and occasional opinions on these items.

Feel free to comment or to submit news items you come across. Florida’s child advocacy community is a vibrant fabric of caring people whose goal it is to help the children. Help us further that cause.

Leave a Reply