The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winners are Florida's Department of Children and Families aka DCF, The Sarasota Family YMCA plus Safe Children Coalition. They get the award for the following.
Sad to say it, but I feel certain in saying this won't be the last DCF screwup. They've won past Knucklehead awards from me, click here, here, and here, besides who can forget the Rilya Wilson case? This is one screwed up agency that when it isn't @#%^! itself, contracts out to others who do.
A missing Florida girl was found in Wisconsin two weeks ago is home, safe and sound. Her ordeal is giving way to a shakeup at the state's Department of Children and Families. Late Tuesday, internal investigators released a full account of what went wrong, and why.
The fallout continues at the Florida Department of Children and Families. As promised, Secretary Bob Butterworth is unveiling a scathing report in the Courtney Clark case.
In January, the two-year old toddler disappeared from her foster home in Lake County. Amazingly, four months passed before law enforcement got wind of it. About two weeks ago, she turned up in Wisconsin.
Turns out her mother had kidnapped her and taken her to a home in Wisconsin. Authorities also found a body buried in the backyard, and an 11-year old boy who had been tortured at the same location.
The report finds that a DCF contractor, the Sarasota Family YMCA, is responsible for not following protocol. In the words of Butterworth, people failed, and the system did, too
“There is not that sense of urgency. When a child goes missing, that must be reported immediately. Go through this file – it’s there,” Butterworth said. “The case worker for the YMCA knew the child was missing, and did not contact local law enforcement for some time. Inexcusable.”
Butterworth is launching a handful of new positions at DCF to better coordinate communication between the department, law enforcement and contractors. He also wants a top-to-bottom review of the Sarasota YMCA.
The Palm Beach Post editorialized this morning-
Two-year-old Courtney Clark was kidnapped last fall from her Tampa foster home. Private child-welfare caseworkers did not report it for four months. When law-enforcement officers finally found the toddler - on June 14 - with her birth mother in Wisconsin, they also found an 11-year-old who had been scalded, repeatedly abused and was covered in blood, and the body of his mother, who had been killed Memorial Day weekend and buried in the back yard.Nobody did have a sense of urgency, and that's why I make Florida's Department of Children and Families aka DCF, The Sarasota Family YMCA plus Safe Children Coalition today's Knuckleheads of the Day.
As horrifying as the daily updated details about the home in Portage, Wis., is the repeated disregard that the Florida Department of Children and Families and one of its private foster-care agencies showed for the 2-year-old and her younger sibling. Their mother faces charges of murder and child abuse.
The toddler had been placed in four foster homes in less than two months, finally with a couple (chosen by the birth mother) who had "some indicators" that they had sexually abused and molested a child. Reports that were required to be completed in 24 hours took months. The Sarasota Family YMCA and Safe Children Coalition not only violated court orders; DCF violated its own child-safety rules.
DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth called the "human failures throughout this system" "unconscionable" and "totally, totally inexcusable." While denying that the Tampa case is "an indictment on the entire system," he has acted quickly to assign Child Location Specialists throughout the state, to improve training, to propose legislation and to review contracts with private agencies. Supposedly, the state's computer tracking system will make sure that caseworkers meet deadlines to check on children. With Courtney Clark, "nobody," Mr. Butterworth fumed this week, "seemed to have a sense of urgency."
Note- The Post editorial puts the words an indictment on the entire system in quotation marks. I've done a yahoo news search looking for that quote and have found none in an article involving this DCF story. I may come back to this story to give the Post a Knucklehead award for making up quotes.
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