By Carol Marbin Miller
Miami-Dade County’s entire child welfare bench presided over a virtually unprecedented hearing Tuesday in which the five judges grilled lawyers and an investigator with the Department of Children & Families over “systemic” failures that have left children dead or gravely injured.
They used the plight of a 4-year-old boy to pull back the curtain on problems occurring throughout the state. The boy was not present.
The 4-year-old has not been killed or tortured, as some Floridian youngsters have. He has simply been subjected to a “violent, unstable and dangerous home” with the agency repeatedly refusing to remove him for his own safety. His parents, allegedly, have engaged in fistfights, stalking, a knifing and a kidnapping, the judges said. The boy’s father has ignored court orders to stay away from the child’s mom, who has a bad drinking problem. DCF’s abuse hotline has received at least three calls that domestic violence left the boy in peril.
Through it all, DCF has taken no action to place him in a safer environment. The judges, some of whom have presided over the family’s travails, wanted to know why.