Hidden Dangers for Miami Children in Foster Care

More and more children are becoming victims of sexual and physical abuse by employees lurking within Florida’s child welfare and foster care system. There are unfortunately certain individuals who access and prey upon children by becoming part of Florida’s welfare and foster care system. They use the system to gain easy – oftentimes unsupervised – access to young children who are later sexually or physically abused. These “abusers of children” seek employment through various Florida shelters and facilities within the state under the pretense of wanting to care for and help children. Once hired, they prey upon and abuse defenseless children.

Background Checks, Screening, and Vetting Foster Care Employees

Child predators and abusers are oftentimes hired by Florida’s foster care system and resident shelter facilities. They slip through the cracks undetected because these facilities fail to preform proper background screening and abuse checks. In Florida, there are various rules and laws requiring these facilities to obtain background checks and conduct proper screenings of potential employees. For example, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) has implement specific rules regarding employee screenings and the State of Florida has enacted Florida Statute Chapter 39 which require employers to screen potential employees for any history of violence or abuse toward children. The State of Florida, private foster care placement companies, welfare agencies, and law enforcement collect and store records regarding histories of child abuse in various data banks. Although this information is highly confidential, the Florida foster care and related facilities involved in child foster care and welfare can access this information when hiring employees. Of course, conducting proper background screenings and abuse checks when hiring is critical to protecting Florida’s vulnerable children. Lawyers at Vinas & DeLuca have seen firsthand the how children can be harmed when these foster care and related faculties neglect to adequately screen employees.

Federal Rules and Laws

Sadly, certain facilities associated with the Federal Government or Federal agencies claim they cannot conduct background screening checks. Failing to conduct adequate employment screenings and background checks can and has lead to children in South Florida being sexually or physically abused. You can read more about child abuse within South Florida’s foster care system.

Many times preventable acts of abuse are uncovered after it is too late. As was the case in Homestead, Florida when it was discovered that several children were sexually abused by employees who had a history of sexual abuse toward children. The Miami Herald [Miami Herald should be same hyperlink as above] uncovered and reported various allegations of child sex abuse at a shelter in Homestead, Florida. The perpetrators were hired without first being properly vetted for child abuse. These employees, with a history of sexual abuse, were hired to watch over children. A simple background check and screening would have uncovered their history of abuse. Yet multiple Florida foster care facilities and the Federal government try to avoid being responsible or legally accountable for these system failures by claiming they are “unable to run child abuse and neglect checks on employees due to restrictions in the applicable Florida Statutes and regulations.” It is unclear which Florida Statutes and regulations restricted the facility from conducting the abuse checks.

WE ARE EXPERIENCED MIAMI FOSTER CARE & ABUSE ATTORNEYS

We have represented multiple children in lawsuits against Florida’s childcare and foster care contractors. One case resulted in a $4,800,000.00 settlement. Our law firm is proud of the work we have done in this area. We have exposed childcare safety issues buried deep within Florida’s foster care system and brought justice to families and children in Florida harmed by child abuse and child neglect. These lawsuits, we believe, shine light on serious childcare safety issues and help improve the safety and well-being of Florida’s foster care children.

If you would like to speak with an experienced attorney about a legal claim related to child abuse or neglect, contact our law firm now. An attorney at Viñas & DeLuca, PLLC will be able to speak with you. You can contact us by calling 305-372-3650, emailing us at [email protected], or by simply completing our online Contact Form.

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