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We do not have an epidemic of child abuse in the United States, but we do have an epidemic of false reporting.
Florida CPS News Archive
Florida News Coverage
Town That Disney Built Has 1st Killing Since Start
Celebration -- Celebration, Disney's master-planned, picture-perfect central Florida community, has never reported a homicide in its 14-year existence - until this week.
Residents of the town five miles south of Walt Disney World woke up Tuesday to the sight of yellow crime-scene tape wrapped around a condo near the Christmas-decorated downtown, where Bing Crosby croons from speakers hidden in the foliage. A 58-year-old neighbor who lived alone with his Chihuahua had been slain over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Osceola County sheriff's deputies said.
December 2, 2010
CCSO scores well in peer review for child protection
Now in its fourth full year under contract with the Florida Department of Children and Families to conduct child protective investigations, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office received high marks in its yearly peer review evaluation.
The Sheriff's Office CPI Section earned a total average of 96.85 percent, which combines the scores earned on initial investigative response, emergency removal and placement, plus program management. In 2000, the Florida Legislature mandated an annual report on the program performance of the sheriff's offices that receive general appropriations to provide child protective investigations.
November 7, 2010
The orphanage debate
Recently, the California legislature had some open debates about extending state-run foster care services to age 21, as opposed to 18, as it now stands.
Kids "raised" in the foster care system don't do as well in young adulthood as children raised in a home environment. This is shock to the "family reunification" crowd who fought for the end of orphanages in the U.S. some 50 years ago. But, when you look at the situation rationally, what did you expect?
Catholic News Agency
October 19, 2010
Oklahoma House panel looks at privatizing child welfare system
Proponents of privatizing more of child welfare services said Tuesday it would increase accountability and transparency. DHS officials said the agency is moving in the right direction in response to legislation passed last year.
State funding for the division, which is about $117 million this fiscal year, would have to double, based on figures from Kansas and Florida, which privatized child welfare services. Thirteen states have privatized some portion of their case management services. Debra Smith, director of the DHS Children and Family Services Division, estimated about 25 percent of some foster care services is contracted with private vendors.
October 13, 2010
Homeless woman arrested for child neglect, living in woods with toddlers (video)
A homeless woman is now in jail and her children are in state protective custody after authorities found her living in a tent in the woods in Plant City.
Authorities say the children were covered in bug bites, were unkempt and wore filthy diapers. The conditions were described as deplorable. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office responded and found Noella Lawrence and her three children: two twin boys, 18 months old, and a daughter , 2-years-old, living in the woods.
Tampa Bay Headlines Examiner
October 10, 2010
Victims' father Steven Lynch searches for the good
After his children died in an alleged arson fire in April, Steven Lynch has found a way to deal with the loss.
Lynch, who lives in Panama City, Fla., said that during a visit, his children told him they had been abused by Jeffrey Weisheit, their mother's boyfriend. He said he called Child Protective Services to report it, but that the department did not follow up on his report.
Evansville Courier & Press
October 5, 2010
Guilty Plea in $400,000 Foster Care Fraud
A 52-year-old Davenport woman pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to stealing more than $400,000 in life insurance money from a former foster child.
In August, a grand jury indicted the couple on federal charges of conspiring to commit fraud and wire fraud. Prosecutors said the Oropezas took advantage of a child who previously lived with them in foster care.
October 4, 2010
Mom Arrested For Leaving Kids in Parked Car Outside Sheriff's Office
If you are going to leave your children unattended in a running car, doing it outside of the agency created to keep children from harm is the worst possible place to do it.
Janessa Dorsey, 21, was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of child neglect after she ran into the Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protective Services, but left her 2-year-old and 9-month old children in the car. Two investigators for the protection agency spotted Dorsey's children inside the car with the keys in the ignition and the engine running. The doors were unlocked and the children unattended.
September 29, 2010
Zephyrhills marijuana bust reveals disturbing scene
ZEPHYRHILLS -- A couple was arrested Tuesday after police reported finding a marijuana operation inside a filthy home occupied by four children.
Desirae Cheri Unroe, 29, and Chen-Kuang Dion Unroe, 34, of 5728 19th St., each face charges of cultivating marijuana and child neglect. Zephyrhills police officers went to the house as part of a joint investigation with child protective services. When they arrived, they found an open sewer line emitting raw sewage onto the front lawn, a report stated.
St. Petersburg Times
September 29, 2010
Kids left in car outside child welfare
Plantation -- A Florida woman left a baby and a toddler in a car unattended -- in front of a Child Protective Services office -- police said.
Around noon Tuesday, two investigators at the Broward County Sheriff's Child Protective Services office in Plantation saw the children, ages 2 and nine months, alone in a car that was left running and called the state's child abuse hotline, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
September 29, 2010
A foster mother goes on trial, and so does shaken baby syndrome
Over three days this week, prosecutors have systematically built a murder case against a former foster mother accused of shaking and killing a baby in her care.
Today a defense attorney will try to build a case against shaken baby syndrome itself. A nationally known critic of shaken baby diagnoses, neurosurgeon Ronald Uscinski of George Washington University Medical Center, is scheduled to testify today for the defense in the case against Tenesia Brown, 42. "There are ... cases all over the country that are being granted new trials because they found out that the science of shaken baby syndrome is flawed," said defense attorney, Ron Kurpiers.
St. Petersburg Times
August 26, 2010
Dr. Chris Okonkwo asked Amber Ullman if she had a gun in her house
It was a question Amber Ullman least expected Wednesday from her children's pediatrician. Do you keep a gun in the house?
When the 26-year-old Summerfield woman refused to answer, the Ocala doctor finished her child's examination and told her she had 30 days to find a new pediatrician and that she wasn't welcome at Children's Health of Ocala anymore.
July 24, 2010
Citing perjury concerns, judge concerns delays Gigliotti sentencing
BROOKSVILLE -- A judge on Wednesday postponed the sentencing of Tai-Ling Gigliotti over concerns that officials with the foster care system might have perjured themselves at some point during the case.
The judge also was concerned that the teen victim might have been involved in a felony while he was in the foster care system and behaved poorly in school and with his foster parents. The judge refused to give details of the alleged crime. Springstead said he was frustrated that the state Department of Children and Families and foster care officials initially resisted releasing the file and then took so long to send it to the Department of Corrections, which then forwarded the file to the court.
St. Petersburg Times
June 10, 2010
Three years later, Crist's approval will release $1.2 million to raped Immokalee foster child
Darlene Achille knows the state House and Senate passed the bills that will provide money to care for her mentally retarded sister and the child she had after being raped by her foster father in Immokalee.
But until Gov. Charlie Crist signs the claims bill - releasing $1.2 million sitting in a trust fund - Achille will keep juggling three jobs required to care for 26-year-old Pierreisna and her 9-year-old daughter. The bill hasn't hit Crist's desk. Once it does, he has seven days to sign it.
Naples Daily News
May 8, 2010
Homeless mom of 12 held in contempt; kids put in foster care
A homeless mother of 12, whose comments about family welfare agencies not doing enough to help her polarized the community, was held in contempt of court at a hearing today and her children were put into foster care.
Angel Adams, 37, refused to answer the judge's question of whether she is pregnant or not. "No comment," was all Adams, who has a total of 15 children, would say. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan, who became visibly more agitated at each turn, ordered Adams jailed for contempt of court. Adams was supposed to move into a rent-free, six-bedroom, two-story house in Sulphur Springs by Friday.
Tampa Bay Online
April 29, 2010
GPS-Enabled Devices Enhance Florida's Foster Care Recordkeeping
To help streamline foster care caseworkers' workloads and validate their field work, Florida is giving them mobile computing devices that immediately upload crucial data in real time.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently procured and distributed smartphones and laptops equipped with built-in cameras and a software program that was developed in-house by the DCF. The solution, Remote Data Capture, allows the state's more than 2,300 caseworkers to take digital images -- stamped with the date, time and GPS-marked location -- and immediately upload the information to the state's child welfare data system.
April 29, 2010
Three more lawsuits doomed to fail, three more bad child welfare systems likely to get worse
The group that so arrogantly calls itself "Children's Rights" has filed another one of its Mclawsuits against a state child welfare agency - this time in Massachusetts. And NCCPR's sources say that another such Mclawsuit, in Texas, is imminent.
Meanwhile a group which is unaffiliated with CR but has the same myopic outlook about how to fix child welfare systems, the National Center for Youth Law, has filed the same kind of suit in Nevada. All of these child welfare systems almost certainly are every bit as bad as CR and NCYL say they are.
NCCPR Child Welfare Blog
April 15, 2010
State still holds $1.2 million due to handicapped girl raped in Immokalee foster home
After being sued in 2002 for not fully investigating rape and abuse complaints in a foster home, the state admitted wrongdoing and agreed to settle the girl's lawsuit for $1.3 million.
Today, the money just sits in a DCF trust account, awaiting approval for a payout. Every year, a claims bill to free up the money to help care for the mother and child languishes in the Legislature. In Florida, claims bills are required due to a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity, which shields state and local governments from liability claims of more than $100,000 per person or $200,000 per incident in negligence lawsuits.
Naples Daily News
April 15, 2010
Man who left USB drive in shared PC waived privacy claims, court rules
A person who forgot to remove a thumb drive from a shared computer that he was using waived his privacy claims to the content on that device, a federal judge in Florida has ruled.
The ruling, by Judge Maurice Paul of the U.S. District Court for the northern district of Florida, was in response to a motion filed by Octavius Durdley an emergency paramedic with the Bradford County Emergency Services (BCES) in Florida.
April 13, 2010
Child welfare agency seeks additional funding
Officials from the Children's Network of Southwest Florida are lobbying to increase funding for foster children living in the five counties of District 8.
Children served by the Children's Network receive the lowest funding out of all 20 districts, an amount that is 32 percent below the state average of per child allocations. The funding formula for districts is set by the Florida Legislature and administered through the Florida Department of Children and Families, yet local child welfare advocates say it hasn't been reworked for some time.
Cape Coral Daily Breeze
April 3, 2010
Legislative changes will negatively impact FLVS
Homeschooling families, particularly those with middle- and high-schoolers seeking schooling options, should closely monitor this year's legislative session.
If proposed changes are approved, these changes will result in a significant reduction in the services offered by the Florida Virtual School program. Changes proposed to the FLVS program include a minimum of an 11% budget cut up to a possible 15% cut, depending upon who you ask.
Jacksonville Homeschooling Examiner
April 1, 2010
After 7-Year-Old Gabriel Myers' Suicide, Fla. Bill Looks to Tighten Access to Psychiatric Drugs
Gabriel's death prompted a statewide investigation that found 13 percent, or 2,699, of all foster children are on such drugs, according to a Department of Children and Families(DCF) study.
That compares with only an estimated 4 percent to 5 percent of children in the general population. The drugs are not approved for use by young children. But doctors often prescribe them 'off-label,' for purposes for which the drugs have not been approved.
March 18, 2010
What Happened When Kindergarten Went Universal?
More than four decades after the first model preschool interventions, there is an emerging consensus that high-quality early-childhood education can improve a child's economic and social outcomes over the long term.
Publicly funded kindergarten is available to virtually all children in the U.S. at age five, but access to preschool opportunities for children four years old and younger remains uneven across regions and socioeconomic groups. Parents with financial means have the option of enrolling their child in a private program at their own expense.
March 8, 2010
'Poor for a day' simulates area's challenges
The first step in fighting poverty is understanding the struggle of the poor, according to the organization charged with leading that fight in Manatee County.
That's why the Manatee Community Action Agency is starting a program aimed at giving those who want to make a difference a crash course on what it means to be poor. The MCAA will hold a Life on the Edge workshop and panel discussion March 18 at First Baptist Church Family Life Center. It's the starting point of a $20,000 anti-poverty initiative paid for by federal stimulus funds.
March 4, 2010
Fla. high-tech system shows promise in tracking children
DID SOCIAL workers have face-to-face meetings with Danieal Kelly and her family three times a week, the way they were supposed to? That's the issue at the heart of the federal trial unfolding now in the death of Danieal at age 14.
Florida's Department of Children and Families has been phasing in a child-tracking program: Caseworkers document each visit to a kid in DCF care by snapping a cell-phone photo of the child. The technology in these special phones not only stamps the picture with the visit's time and date but also uses GPS technology to pinpoint the place where the picture was taken.
Philadelphia Daily News
February 16, 2010
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