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Archive for June, 2013

Another Florida DCF Child Dies; When Will ‘Oversight’ Actually Protect the Children?

Four children under the watch or previously known to be at-risk by the Florida Department of Children and Families have died – with others no doubt suffering personal injury and physical abuse or sexual abuse – at the hands of their families or caregivers in the past six weeks. This is a horrible statistic that points to a terrible trend that must be investigated and stopped before more children die.

The latest story: Ezra Raphael, 2, who was found non-responsive this week in his Miami-Dade County home. This comes after Florida DCF had already investigated the boy and his 22-year-old mother – and closed his case after finding no cause to remove him.

The county medical examiner has classified his death as a homicide. (more…)

Florida Child Abuse Attorney: Another Child, 1, Dies Who Was Known to DCF

Another child has died. And again, in an alarming trend, the child was one known to officials at the Florida Department of Children and Families. Though the child’s death was considered “mysterious” by some, the toddler’s death is under DCF investigation.

According to news reports, the child was cold and unresponsive when found in his crib in his Cape Coral home. He was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.

A DCF report revealed that some two weeks earlier, the child arrived at an area hospital suffering multiple skull fractures. Doctors were told by his mother and her boyfriend that the boy hit his head after being knocked over by the family dog. The two gave “conflicting reports” regarding the night the boy died.


Tampa Area Foster Care Advocates Among Honorees at Florida’s Children First Event June 13

June 15th, 2013   No Comments   Advocacy, News & Events

Florida’s Children First (FCF), the statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children, recognized and honored Tampa area child advocates and former foster care youth at its awards reception and fundraising event on June 13.

The event, held at the law offices of Holland and Knight, was led by FCF Executive Director Christina Spudeas and FCF Deputy Director Robin Rosenberg. Host Committee Chairs included Jennifer Voss and Rosemary Armstrong. It drew more than 100 child advocates, elected officials, judges and community and business leaders. WTSP Channel 10 Anchor Grayson Kamm served as emcee.


Florida Child Abuse Attorneys, Advocates Watch as Another Child Dies Under Agency’s Watch

June 12th, 2013   No Comments   Uncategorized

Child advocate attorneys who fight for at-risk youth are watching closely as Florida officials investigate the death of Antwan Hope, 4, who died a week after being reunited with his mother – and under the watch of the Florida Department of Children and Families and a contracted community-based care provider.

The death of the boy, whom his aunt described as “cute and innocent” and in need of being “rescued” from his situation, has left child advocate attorneys again asking questions. How could a boy already on DCF’s radar for past claims of abuse fall victim to the very abuse social workers were called in to prevent? In 2011, he was removed from his mother for her allegedly trying to suffocate him; in 2013, he’s gone after an unsupervised visit with her. Coral Springs police call his death “suspicious.”

“The boy’s distraught relatives said it was clear Antwan’s mom was disturbed and that she should not have had unsupervised access to him,” the Miami Herald reported. “‘They put him in the hands of death,’” the paper reported Antwan’s aunt, Deborah Jackson, as saying.

DCF officials, who contracted the boy’s case through a private Broward foster care agency, declined to discuss the matter. “We take child deaths very seriously, and we take this case very seriously,” spokeswoman Alexis Lambert told the Herald.

It’s a horrible story – one all too often repeated throughout Florida’s at-risk populations. Read the entire Miami Herald story here.