Foster child advocates often are concerned with cases of child abuse, child sexual abuse, and personal injury on kids in county and state child welfare facilities. With suspected teen prostitution, alleged drug use, and questions of lax oversight and supervision, a newspaper report regarding conditions at a state-contracted care provider highlights what foster child abuse attorneys call and reporters have long been concerned about. The suspicions of lax care and oversight in the state dependency system leaves children vulnerable to sexual abuse, child abuse, and emotional harm.
In what one publication called, “a textbook example of outsource economics,” Florida children facing criminal charges often are sent to youth offender facilities run by the delinquency system of the Department of Juvenile Justice or the dependency system of the Department of Children and Families, especially for those children have been abused or neglected.
In some situations, the state relies on a host of subcontractors for child services, foster care and group homes. In others, the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, contracts with Community-Based Care Lead Agencies (or CBCs) who subcontract with and oversee independent group homes.
In Broward and Palm Beach counties in South Florida, that CBC is ChildNet. “It subcontracts with 51 agencies in the two counties. The Broward branch serves 3,124 children with a staff of 404 and a $75 million budget; Palm Beach works with 2,557 kids, 109 staffers, and $48 million, according to state figures,” according to New Times.
When allegations of abuse, child prostitution, and drug use arose, it also raised concerns about how state-contracted organizations are caring for and watching over children in its charge.
Again, Florida’s child advocates and foster child abuse attorneys are left to wonder how or whether the state and county officials are policing facilities they’re entrusting to care for children in the delinquency or dependency system.
Read the story here.