There’s been so much news from Florida lately that, this week, it needs a round-up all its own:
● NCCPR was included in two stories from WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach: One is still another example of why the Florida Department of Children and Families is a spouse abuser’s best friend. In a second story, an overwhelmed grandmother seeks help from Florida DCF. The granddaughter, now a young adult, talks about what that did to her family.
● That situation, a desperate grandmother surrendering a granddaughter, also is at the heart of the case that is the centerpiece of a key story in a stunning series about sex trafficking in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. That one had an even more tragic result. But leave it to the Deputy Chief of Staff at DCF to rub salt into the wounds of these grandmothers and so many others, declaring that “It is not solely the fact that the child is in foster care that raises their vulnerability to become a victim of human trafficking — rather the abuse or neglect that led them into state’s care.”
Except of course, in most cases, that’s not true. Far more often, we’re talking about parents whose poverty is confused with neglect, or parents whose only crime was to be survivors of domestic violence.
● The revelations in the Sun-Sentinel story don’t end there. Six years ago, NCCPR posted a blog warning about how the group home industry sneaked what we called a “presents for pimps” loophole into the Family First Act. The Sun-Sentinel story reveals that Florida DCF drove a truck through that loophole. So I’ve updated the post. So it turns out Florida DCF is a pimp’s best friend, too.
● And just before the holiday, WSVN-TV broadcast a story that begins this way:
As you prepare to spend Thanksgiving with your family, 22 Florida families say the state is keeping cherished loved ones away from them. They are suing Florida’s foster care system and accusing it of kidnapping.
One of the lawyers bringing the suit, Octavia Brown, used to be an attorney for DCF, prompting this Q and A:
“As a former DCF employee, was it hard to file this lawsuit against DCF?”
Octavia Brown: “No, not at all.”