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Medically Needy Child Dies Under DCF Care and Amid Provider Bickering

On Florida Child Advocate, we’ve advocated for attorneys and attorneys ad litem for developmentally disabled and medically fragile children and foster and at-risk children – and to put an end to their needless and senseless wrongful death, personal injury and physical abuse. We’ve admonished the Florida Department of Children and Families and their contracted community-based providers for not seeing that these citizens receive the critical and appropriate medical care they need, and we’ve lauded the legislature for funding that care.

So it’s saddening and frustrating to read that a young child under the watch of DCF and under the care of two such providers died as those providers debated who should handle and pay for her care. In brief, this young child should have had assigned to her a skilled child advocacy attorney to argue for her needs. Simply put, she died because no one skilled to do so was there on her side advocating for her very specific and necessary medical needs.

Read just part of her story to get a sense of her suffering, and now plain it would seem to an outsider that she needed someone to advocate on her behalf…

As the Miami Herald wrote, “A severely disabled 12-year-old Broward County girl appears to have been starved or neglected to death — while under the care of a privately run foster care agency under contract with the state…Tamiyah [Audain, 12] became one of at least 20 Florida children who have died since this spring during a period of significant turmoil for the state’s child welfare agency, DCF, and the second Broward child whose death is expected to reveal significant lapses at ChildNet, DCF’s private provider in Broward.”

How many of these medically needy kids must suffer? How many must die? How much more must this vulnerable population endure – especially when their medical needs are known? One child advocate attorney could have prevented her death. Instead, agencies bickered.

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