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DCF Improperly Dismissing Child Abuse Cases?

November 19th, 2007 by flanews

Florida’s troubled Department of Children and Families is once again under fire tonight. A whistleblower claims child abuse cases were routinely closed without investigation to make the department look better. As Chris Casquejo tells us, DCF leaders are withholding judgment unti they see the final report from their inspector general.

Hear it here: DCF Improperly Dismissing Child Abuse Cases?

The case of a 2-year-old girl beaten so severely that she had a skull fracture never made it past the DCF complaint stage. A preliminary report suggests that more than one regional office routinely closed cases without investigating.  News that doesn’t give parents like Randy Ferguson confidence in DCF.

“Because of what I’ve been reading and hearing, I’d be suspicious,” Ferguson said.

This is the same agency that lost Rilya Wilson in 2001 and didn’t know it for 15 months.

At the heart of the allegations, a whistleblower who says that DCF workers were improperly dismissing cases because of lack of jurisdiction.

DCF is supposed to investigate abuse reports within 24 hours.  But a whistleblower says in at least 300 cases, there was no investigation at all, just so DCF offices could look good in performance reviews.  DCF leaders are waiting for a final report from their inspector general.

“There’s no question in my mind that when a child’s safety is at stake, they’re not going to deal with some artificial performance measure to make themselves look better,” said DCF Assistant Secretary George Sheldon.

But parents say the state agency needs to do a better job of protecting children.

“That’s their job,” said Gustavo Aguilar, a father of two boys.  “That’s what they’re paid for. It shouldn’t be easy for them to overlook that.”

DCF leaders say they’ve made changes, replacing supervisors and adding more case workers to deal with the backlog of cases.

The inspector general’s report should be released in two to three weeks.

Posted in Children, State News | 3 Comments »

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