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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Children's Home Society. They get the award for their handling of a Jacksonville teenager in their care. CHS lied to Florida courts and broke the law by not putting the young man's information on a state run adoption website. Instead the teen has spent over two years in foster care.

Another sad tale of idiotic bungling when it comes to caring of children in the state of Florida. Read the entire Jacksonville Florida Times-Union article below. It is quite enlightening. The Children's Home Sociiety isn't just being held in contempt of court, but are also being named today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Basil, Bright & Early, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, StikNstein, Yankee Sailor,

For nearly three years, a Jacksonville teenager languished in foster care while the agency responsible for him repeatedly broke Florida law and lied in court about its efforts to get him adopted, a judge found.

In fact, the judge said, caseworkers at the Children's Home Society made no efforts at all to put the boy's information on a state-mandated Internet adoption site despite telling the judge the opposite in court and in writing.

Circuit Judge David Gooding indicated April 4 in his contempt of court order that he plans to fine the agency, and he requested financial information to help him determine the right amount.

"Children's Home Society engaged in prolonged, repeated and chronic misrepresentations to this court and violations of judicial ... orders to the detriment of the child," Gooding wrote. "This conduct ... is particularly egregious because for 32 months, this child was unknown to any prospective adoptive families."

Dependency court orders normally are private, but the Times-Union obtained Gooding's order Tuesday afternoon with the boy's name taken out.

Dekle Day, an attorney who represented the Children's Home Society in the proceedings, declined to comment.

The nonprofit agency's executive director and general counsel didn't return phone messages left at their offices. A message was also left at the home of a listing that matches the name of the executive director.

The agency's Internet site says it has been serving children in Jacksonville for 104 years and now has responsibility for the care of nearly a third of Florida's foster children.

One of the child's former counselors at Children's Home Society testified in October that the agency thought he was on the adoption exchange site but said under cross-examination that his information hadn't been updated since May 2005, the judge said.

But Gooding said even though Children's Home Society told him in court, filed regular reports and prepared court orders saying the boy was on the adoption exchange, he "is not and has not ever been" on any state-mandated site. In light of its long history, Gooding said, "Children's Home Society should have known better."

The contempt citation was requested by attorney Helen Spohrer of the Duval County guardian ad litem's office, which represents the boy, now 16. Spohrer said she couldn't comment about the case.

Gooding has scheduled a hearing on the matter Monday afternoon.

The boy has been in foster care much of his life but became eligible for adoption 30 days after his parents' rights were terminated in January 2004, according to Gooding's order. Once that happened, state law required Children's Home Society to actively seek a permanent home through adoption, including placement of his picture and biographical information on the adoption exchange site.

His status was the subject of regular hearings in dependency court, presided over by Gooding.

The boy's picture and changes to his biographical information are supposed to be updated regularly, said Jim Adams, executive director of Family Support Services, which oversees private foster-care agencies in Duval County. An adoptions specialist at Adams' agency testified she trained Children's Home Society representatives on proper procedures for placing children on the exchange.

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