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Man Charged with Abuse Approved as Foster Parent by Florida Department of Children and Families

Florida’s foster child advocates and attorneys who represent foster children who have suffered personal injury, physical abuse and sex abuse, and wrongful death are left wondering again how a man known by the Florida Department of Children and Families who was granted a foster parent license ended up being charged with killing a child in his care.

In a twist on news reports of children dying while under the watch of DCF, newspaper reports this week claim that DCF and its private contractors may have failed to completely review the background of Michael Beer before granting him a foster care license. The Port St. Lucie, Florida, foster parent was charged this week with beating to death Trysten Adams, a 2-year-old foster boy in Beer’s care.

Twenty years ago, Beers failed to help another 2-year-old who had been severely abused, according to news reports. The Miami Herald  reports that Florida DCF approved Beers’ foster care license in 2013, even though it knew of the episode.

DCF is blaming several private contractors for the lapse, organizations it says are responsible for “interviewing and obtaining background information” on potential foster parents. “A DCF spokeswoman said the 1993 abuse allegation is not an automatic disqualifier by law and that the agency worked with its private contractors during the process of renewing the couple’s license,” the paper wrote.

Yet, 20 years ago, a Port St. Lucie detective at the time “asked why the surviving children are still in the care of the Beer,” the paper reported.

This news comes on the heels of a report by the Miami Herald of the deaths of some 477 children whom DCF knew of or knew to be at risk. The organization has promised sweeping changes, and the Florida Legislature has enacted several measures.

Now, Florida foster child advocates and attorneys who represent children who are victims of sexual abuse, physical harm, personal injury and wrongful death are left to wonder whether DCF is watching those who watch the foster parents.

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