Now children are being forced to spend their days in cars – in a convenience store parking lot
UPDATE, FEBRUARY 9: Guess what: Gov. Rick Scott claims he's oh, so concerned about the WFLA-TV revelations. “DCF is going to hold people accountable,” Scott said in a follow-up story. Really? And who is going to hold DCF accountable for the foster-care panic that allowed this to happen in the first place?
All over the country there have been times when foster-care panics – sharp spikes in children removed from their homes in the wake of high-profile tragedies - led to children being forced to spend their days, and sometimes nights, in child welfare agency offices or hotels.
But as far as I know forcing foster kids to spend all day in a car in a convenience store parking lot is a first. Congratulations, Florida, once again you’re a trendsetter.
And once again, reporter Mark Douglas of Tampa television station WFLA-TV is focusing on problems the Tampa Bay Times not only ignores, but also helped to create. Because the foster-care panic is at the root of all of this.
The Miami Herald started the panic with “Innocents Lost,” a series filled with distortion and misrepresentation. The Times has been fanning the flames.
Recall previous reporting from WFLA-TV on how the state admitted to taking away children solely because their parents are poor – and how, in one such case the child died in foster care. And recall the new Florida study showing that 40 percent of cases referred to court for either a foster care removal, intensive services or both could have been handled with less-intrusive options.