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Fifth child dies despite warnings to state, father charged with murder, DCF rocked again

Angel VillegasA Homestead man has been charged with shaking his 2-year-old son to death last week — one month after state child welfare administrators gave him custody of the toddler even though he was unemployed, living in a one-bedroom home with eight other children, had been repeatedly accused of domestic violence and had admitted to child-welfare authorities that he had “an anger issue.”

Two-year-old Jayden Antonio Villegas-Morales became the fifth Florida youngster to die since May after having already come to the attention of state child-protection administrators.

The deaths may also have claimed the job of Department of Children & Families Secretary David Wilkins, who had been Gov. Rick Scott’s longest-serving agency head.

Wilkins abruptly resigned last week amid a growing scandal over the deaths of children whose safety had already been investigated by DCF.

Jayden’s father, 29-year-old Angel Luis Villegas,  (photo) was charged Sunday with second-degree murder. More from Carol Marbin Miller

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Elizabeth

Well! I guess he thought he probably get away with it because Florida is the state where you can get away with murder no matter what the age of the victim.


ihatecorruption

When is someone going to step in? How many more children have to die because FLORIDA believes fathers should have custody even when there's a history of violence. The SAFETY of the child should be the priority in custody cases! Why is that so hard to figure out?

whasup

The problem is too many folks having kids who are too young, too poor, too unstable, too undisciplined, and/or too dumb to raise and care for them properly.

In a free country, no government agency is going to prevent that generally. No government agency is going to fix that, ordinarily, even after its workers identify the youth, poverty, instability, lack of discipline or intelligence as a problem ... or a potential threat.

Ashleigh

Sorry MF! Makes me sick! poor baby, he's in a way better place now. <3

Brian

Gov. Rick Scott should step aside and allow outside authorities to come in and investigate the root causes why so many kids die under care as Governor.

Sound familiar?


#Robert_Champion

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/rick-scott-florida-govern_1_n_1151973.html

Mike Sawyer

Past time for the Florida media to take off the gloves and go not only after DCF, but all the lead agencies and Community Base Care agencies. Where are the Guardian at Litem angels that proudly dress-up and make-up like "new money" singing "We are for the children’s best interest?" Hopefully the media executives will allow real journalism to trump child welfare buck$ they receive.

Walter Conger

"...even though he was unemployed, living in a one-bedroom home with eight other children, had been repeatedly accused of domestic violence and had admitted to child-welfare authorities that he had “an anger issue.” A Unified Home Study would have been required to place that child with the father; it appears that the required Home Study was either not completed, or was falsified, because the reported negative factors should have precluded placement of the child with him.

*Any* decision of the assigned investigator to place the child would have been approved by a supervisor, likely a "second-party reviewer," by a DCF attorney, and by a judge; this case also looks like it would have precipitated a multidisciplinary staffing prior to the final decision, that would have included other views, as well.

Anyone working anywhere in child welfare will tell you that the system is horribly broken, driven by the public's unwillingness to pay for social services coupled with the increasing lack of compassion in this society for the disadvantaged, by poor salaries, high caseloads, and abysmal morale. Workers are treated as idiots, as being expendable and easily replaced, and are the first to be "thrown under the bus," although every decision made by an investigator is reviewed and approved by at least one supervisor, often a second party, and may even include other "specialists" and an attorney.

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