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Innocence Lost: Florida Lawsuit Alleges DCF Sent Girl to Abusive Setting

March 1st, 2010   No Comments   Abuse

Children should know they’re beautiful and loved. They should feel safe, welcome and comfortable surrounded by family and friends.

Yet one girl felt none of these. At 7, she was placed by the Florida Department of Children and Families into an overcrowded foster home, shared a bed with another foster child, and ultimately was sexually molested by the foster parent. She lost more than her innocence. She lost her trust in others and a chance at a normal future.

Now 12, her adoptive mother is trying to help the girl regain her trust – and a normal life. A lawsuit filed against the Florida DCF and YMCA seeks to ensure normalcy for the girl – and future state wards.

In the St. Petersburg Times story of February 27, 2010, “Lawsuit Alleges DCF and YMCA Sent Girl into Sexually Abusive Situation,” it was reported that the first time the Florida woman took her adoptive daughter to the dentist, an assistant asked if the girl had been sexually assaulted.

“She just asked that because of how she reacted toward him,” the girl’s mother said.

The abuse, which occurred when the girl was 7 years old and in foster care, could have been prevented and should have been recognized sooner, according to a suit filed in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court that accuses the Department of Children and Families and the Sarasota YMCA of negligence and oversight failures — allegations that the DCF flatly denies.

Attorney Howard Talenfeld says the girl should have never been in the Oldsmar home of Brian and Antonia Starmer, who are also named in the suit.

Read the entire article here.

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