On Opening Day, Florida Senate Pushes Plan for Child Welfare Reform

By: Margie Menzel News Service of Florida | Posted: March 5, 2014 3:55 AM
Child abuse

Senate President Don Gaetz on Tuesday vowed to make reforming Florida's child-welfare system a top priority of the 2014 legislative session, as a Senate panel continued its push for specific proposals to do the job.

"We will reform a child-welfare system so porous that 430 children known to (the Department of Children and Families) have disappeared or died in the last five years," Gaetz, R-Niceville, said in an address to open the annual session.

Both chambers have been reviewing reform measures since last fall, following a wave of child deaths from abuse and neglect. Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford pledged more funding so that children in the court system will have guardians ad litem to advocate for them.

And on Tuesday, before the session ceremonies began, the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee heard from a general magistrate and the heads of two community-based care lead agencies about draft language the panel is preparing for a vote next week.

One proposal would require the Department of Children and Families to make public the deaths of children reported to the state abuse hotline. It would require the secretary of the department to appoint two assistant secretaries, one for child welfare and one for substance abuse and mental health, and to conduct immediate investigations of deaths or other serious incidents in which children are harmed. It would create statewide and local multi-agency death review committees.

A second proposal would require child-protective investigators and their supervisors hired as of July 1 to have bachelor's degrees in social work from accredited university programs. It would create tuition exemptions and student-loan forgiveness programs for child-protective investigators now employed by the Department of Children and Families and the six counties whose sheriffs conduct those investigations.

The proposal also would require employees and subcontractors of community-based care lead agencies to be professionally certified. And it would require the maintenance of a database, accessible to the public, of all professionals holding those certifications -- including any histories of ethical violations.

Nancy Wilkov, general magistrate for the 8th Judicial Circuit in Gainesville, told lawmakers the gaps that need to be addressed applied not only to child deaths last year, but to earlier ones as well, including those of Nubia Barahona in 2011 and Gabriel Myers in 2009.

She urged the panel to stress critical thinking and communication skills for the case managers who oversee foster care and adoption services for the local community-based care agencies.

"There's a real gap when I get new case managers (in my courtroom)," Wilkov said. "They seem not to understand the role of the court and how what they do fits into the court process and how all of the good casework that they are doing behind the scenes comes to nothing if they can't bring that to the decision-maker in an appropriate form."

Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, asked Wilkov if she ought to supply the case managers with a checklist, but the magistrate replied that many of those details were already in state law.

Wilkov said the case managers must be able to grasp what they need to supply at upcoming court dates.

"They need to register in their minds what's missing and what question they should be asking," she said. "Some caseworkers will do that on their own, and some will not."

The Senate panel also heard from the chief executive officers of two community-based care lead agencies, known as CBCs, about draft provisions dealing with the agencies' contracts with the state. CBCs currently receive $769 million from the state to provide foster care, adoption, case management and other services for about 2,300 children.

The panel's draft proposal includes a provision that would require CBCs to "demonstrate financial responsibility through an organized plan for regular fiscal audits and the posting of a performance bond." Another provision would require them to "provide for a regular independent auditing of its financial activities."

In response, Glen Casel, chief executive officer of the CBC of Central Florida, said there are already enough accountability measures in place for their agencies and others like them.

Casel pointed out that the community-based care agencies are evaluated by a host of entities, including their boards of directors and national accrediting bodies, the Department of Children and Families' monthly scorecard, fiscal and licensing evaluations, and the oversight of the governor, Legislature and judiciary.

"When you look at the number of kids that we're serving, I think we're a tremendous return on investment," said Mike Waltkins, chief executive officer of Big Bend Community Based Care.


Tags: News, Politics

Comments (4)

8:12AM MAR 7TH 2014
What happened to that story about lawmakers making quick fixes to the sexual predators thing? The one showing the mother of the little Clay County girl that was abducted, raped and murdered? And it mentioned Gabriel Myers the seven year old boy who hung himself trying to escape the rapist. The whole article vanished. Maybe those pesky bloggers posted to much truth about Haridouplas, YSI and all the rest of those bllod sucking vendors stealing the tax payers blind and sharing their wealth with the crooked politicians that make sure they get the contracts over and over.
Public Records speak for themselves
11:28AM MAR 5TH 2014
It is interesting that Senator Alan Hays from lake County Florida would be asking questions about this subject. He is personally aware of the morally challenged sheriff of Lake County installed in office by then Gov. Jeb Bush. The list of crimes covered up by Sheriff Borders and his cronies would circle the state thrice. The arrests of sexual perverts in his sheriff's office by outside agencies is also astounding. Some Borders has also covered up and they remain on his pay roll. (Google Garrett Merting)

The law makers need to devise a way to clean out the perverts from law enforcement. Only then will the laws they pass have any significance!

All the laws in the world when enforcement thereof is left in the hands of depraved perverts are thereby null and void and will serve an ethical purpose.

They can pass more and more laws and more and more children will continue to be abused because in so many cases it is the so called law enforcement that is either the abuser or the enabler of the abuser.
More education of child welfare workers is simply pouring more fuel on the fire. Many are already educated beyond their intelligence!
The perverts in the system protect themselves and their sick friends.
Case in point. Lake County Florida Sheriff and his friends who run the Bridges of America FDOC prison ministry and early release program vendor services ran the Green Isle Boys Ranch from 1989 to 2010.
Over the 20 plus years untold numbers of boys were raped. Every case was covered up. The last five boys raped by an older boy found pictured with a grinning Sheriff Gary Borders during the summer of 2009 around the time the rapes started. When the rapes was reported to Sheriff Borders Office he stopped his Detectives from arresting his little friend the rapist.
On Nov. 21, 2009 – FIVE boys ages 12-15 reported to Green Isle Ranch Dir they had been brutally sexually abused from July to early Nov. 2009 by an older boy (by then gone from the Ranch) who had threatened their lives and only then did they feel safe to report is crimes. These FIVE little boys give the responding Deputy Sheriff hand written statements every one of them identifying their rapist by name.
Absolutely nothing happened, no arrest, nothing! The continued to house these five victims at Green Isle Ranch and hired a new Director and house parents. On Feb. 3, 2010 New house parents Clayton and Angie Berkey was on all the Orlando TV Stations relating the plight of the FIVE victims still housed at Green Isle. Berkey also said a former male house parent has exposed himself to the boys. He went on to say that since Nov. 2009 some of the boys had attempted suicide and the Lake Sheriff’s Office had responded to those calls and again done nothing for the FIVE boys!
In March 2010 they claimed to close the ranch due to financial problems and the sheriff’s paid mouthpiece reported the rapes were still under investigation. FDLE later reported the sheriff had arrested the rapist on Feb. 9, 2010 and he pled “no contest” to four counts of sexual battery and lewd & lascivious and was placed on “community control” and not required to register as a sex offender as per many of the current laws in place by Lake Circuit Judge Michael Takac. During this same time period the rapist was racking up injunctions for protection against dating violence and having Citrus County Florida deputy sheriff’s writing reports of his acts of violence – any of which would have violated any so called “community control.” The entire cover up was a hoax perpetrated by the Fifth Circuit of Florida!
In the summer of 2012 a 13 year old boy got up the courage to tell his father (who only had visitation rights) that he and his 8 year old half-sister was being sexually abused by his then 17 year old step-brother. He said it had been going on for a long time. He said his mother had even drugged him for the step-brother to sexually abuse him. He said his mother told him it was normal behavior because they were homosexuals. The father immediately called the DCF child abuse hotline. Florida DCF in turn called the Office of Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders to report the crimes.
By Nov. 2012 the father had heard absolutely nothing from anyone. On Thursday 11/8/2012 the father went to see Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders and his Chief Deputy Peyton Grinnell concerning the matter. It was learned that the child victim’s mother was an employee of Lake County Florida Tax Collector Bob McKee and both McKee and his wife school principal Bonnie McKee had offered to testify regarding her character in court on her behalf. It was also learned from court documents that Sheriff Gary Borders sex crimes Detective Marcie Poitevent had given the victims mother legal advice. [NOTE: Lake Det Cpl Marcie Poitevent is the CEO of Central Florida Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Team (CFSAFE-T) – Check out the Florida Corporate records!]

Sheriff Gary Borders told the victims father he would have his detective turn the case over to the State Attorney.

Again by January 28, 2013 – The father has heard nothing from anyone! On this date he
called the State Attorney’s office and spoke with Assistant State Attorney John (who said he had only been there 2 months) about how this case was coming. ASA John told him that when Det. Poitevent presented him this case a couple of months ago she told him that the victim didn’t want to prosecute. The father told him that was never the case. The father asked about the possibility of prosecuting the mother for covering up the rapes and drugging her and his son “the victim.” ASA John told the father that would be hard to prove! So another known sexual pervert remains lose in our society. All the laws in the world in the hands of the lawless are worthless!

Lake County Florida- 1/20/2013 – 26 year old Michael John Morrow is arrested by Leesburg Police for lewd & lascivious on a child under twelve years of age. On 2/25/2013 the Charges were dropped by Fifth Circuit Chief Circuit Judge Briggs.
On 12/4/2013 the parents of the victim along with the support of DCF filed a petition against sexual violence against Michael John Morrow. On 12/6/2013 Fifth Circuit Judge Heidi Davis issued the following exact order:
2/6/2013 --order denying petition for injunction for protection against sexual violence; court notes: the parient's may supplement the petition to include they are filing because they feel their daughter needs this protection, not because dcf told them to file. Court will be willing to review it again; copies to petitioner by mail.

As yourself how can this happen! Is Michael John Morrow related to one Bryan B Morrow, Jr. Ex. Dir. Of the Association of Christian Children’s Ministries International, Inc. The organization that “certifies” all authorized Christian schools. There must be a reason a 26 year old child rapist can get away with it. And, the parents can not even get an injunction for protection from sexual violence against this rapist!

For those to intelligent to believe these things are happening all you have to do is go directly to the Lake County court records or you can make public records requests – It takes honesty, morals, character and ethics above reproach to enforce the laws of any society. This is why the degenerates who control our government and its so called officials like to put the scum of the earth in power because they know they will never have to worry about being arrested for their crimes – especially their crimes against our children!
The Deaths of three Little Gabriels
9:43AM MAR 5TH 2014
It is dangerous to be a child named Gabriel in Florida


Prosecutor reviews report (UNTIL THE DAY HE RETIRES) on baby Gabriel's '08 death-
March 25, 2009
LAKE COUNTY FLORIDA -- A homicide prosecutor said he was reviewing the Lake County Sheriff's Office investigation into the death of Gabriel Golden, an infant who died from skull fractures last year in a Leesburg home.

"These can be especially difficult cases to prove," said Assistant State Attorney Bill Gross, who offered few details about the report completed by Lake Sheriff’s Detective Mark Knuttila. "They generally rely a great deal on complex medical testimony."

No charges were filed after the Nov. 3, 2008 death of the 5-month-old boy, although Ashley Baker, 32, one of Gabriel's caregivers, was identified as "a person of interest" in the case during court hearings that determined who should have temporary custody of two other children living in the Picciola Road home in Leesburg.

Gross said his review of the case could take "months." [Bill Gross recently retired in 2014 without filing charges in this child’s death]
Ashley Baker was arrested Jan. 30, 2009 on unrelated theft charges and remains in the Lake County Jail. UPDATE: Suspect Ashley Baker was sentenced to the Fl DOC on several charges unrelated to the death of Gabriel Golden and served from 7/8/2009 until he was released on 11/2/2012. Release address 3650 Picciola Cut Off Rd. Fruitland Park, Fl. Scene of the murder of one Gabriel Golden. No charges have ever been filed against the Bakers for the violent death of Gabriel Golden.
After Gabriel's death, “the Department of Children and Families issued a report in which the agency admitted its staff had neglected to ensure the baby's safety.” The report said staff had focused too much attention on Gabriel's biological parents, Andrew and Andrea Golden, and not enough on the caregivers, Tammi and Ashley Baker. They should have checked the criminal history of the Baker’s as well.

The Goldens were financially unable to provide or care for the child and gave up "all parental rights" to the Bakers on Sept. 3, 2008 according to signed documents obtained by researchers. They should have checked the criminal history of the Goldens! On 8/6/2009 Andrew Golden was sentence to the Fl DOC for a litany of charges (none of which are connected to being a rotten human being and parent) and, he was released to 16447 Cagans Crossing Clermont, Fl. on 3/26/2012.
Before the Bakers agreed to take custody of Gabriel, DCF investigated claims that his biological parents had left him with others for days, had relied on handouts from local churches and were both thinking about joining the military.

“But the DCF report also said “the Bakers had been investigated at least 14 times on abuse and neglect allegations.” Most of the investigations found no wrongdoing on the part of the couple, however.” AND DCF STILL PUT THIS LITTLE BABY IN THE BAKER’S HOUSEHOLD!
The DCF report, while noting that Ashley Baker had a lengthy criminal record, also quoted Gabriel's paternal grandparents as saying "it is obvious that Gabriel is wanted and loved in that house." Vickie Laabs, Tammi Baker's mother, said "they all love Gabriel" and fell in love with him when they started watching him. REALLY! WELL THAT KIND OF LOVE KILLS!!!

Two other children in the home at the time of Gabriel's death remain in the temporary care of others.
Their mother, Tammi Baker, 31, won additional privileges with both children during a hearing last week in Lake County, although Magistrate Heidi Davis reserved judgment on where Tammi Baker's son and daughter ultimately will reside.

The son, 12, resides with family friends; the daughter, 6, resides in Pensacola with her biological father.

The magistrate warned Tammi Baker that if she is permitted unsupervised visits in her home with the children that Ashley Baker, if released from jail, is not allowed to be around the kids.
Ashley Baker pleaded not guilty last month to charges of burglary and two counts of dealing in stolen property. He is accused of breaking into the home of his stepson's foster parents, stealing more than $4,000 worth of jewelry, including a keepsake pocket watch, and attempting to pawn stolen goods.

April 24, 2009
MARGATE – State officials are investigating whether a 7-year-old boy who hanged himself in his Margate foster home had been given a powerful, mind-altering drug in violation of Florida law.
Three weeks before his April 16 suicide, Gabriel Myers was prescribed the drug Symbyax, which is a combination of the generic forms of the anti-depressant Prozac and the anti-psychosis drug Zyprexa, according to state Department of Children & Families records released Friday night.
But there was no court order in place for Gabriel to use the drug, the records show. Under Florida law, parental consent or a judge’s ruling is needed before a foster child can be administered a psychotropic drug.
It’s unclear whether Gabriel was taking Symbyax. Margate police have his medication logs as they investigate his death, according to DCF spokeswoman Leslie Mann.
Mann said the agency is examining why a court order was not obtained to put Gabriel on the drug.

At the time of his death, Gabriel was home alone with the 19-year-old son of his foster father. Gabriel got upset with the young man during lunch, locking himself in the bathroom and saying he was going to kill himself. The young man used a screwdriver to pick the lock and found Gabriel hanging from a shower hose, according to DCF records.

Gabriel was pronounced dead one hour later at Northwest Medical Center in Margate.
DCF is also investigating why Gabriel was being watched by the 19-year-old. “The bottom line is that (the 19-year-old) should not have been left alone with Gabriel, if in fact he was,” Mann said.
DCF began releasing more than 1,000 pages of Gabriel’s child welfare records about 7:30 p.m. Friday, detailing a tragic life in which he was both a victim and an apparent danger to other children.
A month before his death, Gabriel told a therapist he was “a bad person,” the records state.
“(Gabriel) said, ‘I lied when I was 1 years old, then I lied when I was 2 years old. I was born a liar and I will always be lying,’ ” according to the therapist’s report.
DCF first learned of Gabriel in June after his mother was found passed out in a parked car in Hallandale Beach and he was in the back seat. The boy had come from Ohio–“where authorities were looking into allegations that he had been sexually abused by an older boy”, according to DCF records.
While in Florida, he bounced between his uncle’s home and two foster homes. He lived in one foster home from October until March, when fears arose that he might hurt a toddler in the house, according to DCF records. He was then moved to the Margate foster home, where he lived for the three weeks leading up to his death.

Given the volumes of leaks of children being sexually abused at Green isle Boys Ranch; Youth Services International; Carlton Palms; SEED; Straight, Inc. (and the list goes on and on) and those acts covered up by the officials in charge of protecting the victims while they actually protect the perverts who are many times their friends. Did Margate police or DCF investigate the possibility that Gabriel Myers was running from the sexual abuse at the hands of the 19-year-old son of his foster father? If he was they will cover it up because that would make DCF look bad for not doing their jobs! Check the suicide rates of our youth and you will find that as bad as the mind altering forced prescriptions are, when the facts are not covered up to protect the abusers – you will find children tend to commit suicide more often to escape sexual abuse than any other reason.
The Deaths of three Little Gabriels
9:41AM MAR 5TH 2014

May 8, 2012- This little Gabriel was killed by a drugged up mad man (you can not call this an accident, this was pure vehicular manslaughter) who has still never been charged with her death – all the while Lake Circuit Judge Larry Semento jerks the “just us” system by playing “musical court dates!”

A Man Involved In A Deadly Car Crash On March 13th 2012 That Killed A Tavares Toddler Recently was arrested on reckless driving and drug-possession charges, authorities reported!
Deputies said John Sutherland Abbott, golf director at the Black Bear Golf Club in Eustis, was weaving in and out of traffic last week to pass cars on State Road 46A, while traveling northbound at speeds more than 100 mph.

Deputies said they found marijuana in one of his pockets and amphetamine and hydrocodone in the car. Abbott, 39, also whipped out a "wad of cash" and tried to bribe a deputy, the Sheriff's Office reported. He faces several charges, including reckless driving, trafficking in illegal drugs and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Abbott, who lives in Sanford, bonded out Friday of the Lake County Jail.

Abbott's attorney, Michael Grieco, a former Miami-Dade prosecutor, disputed the bribery and trafficking allegations, arguing the report was embellished.

"He was pulling his money clip out because that's where his I.D. was at," Grieco said. As for the trafficking, he said, "I'm not going into whether or not he was in possession of the pills. I'm saying it was not a trafficking amount."
Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said Abbott likely was impaired by drugs or medication during the March 13, 2012 crash. Abbott, who is believed to have started the accident, was driving northbound on County Road 437 near State Road 44 when he drove into the southbound lane and struck a Jeep, troopers said. They said he then slammed into the PT Cruiser where the 3-year-old Gabriel Jones, daughter of former Tavares High football coach Gavin Jones, was riding.

No charges have been filed in the crash. The FHP is waiting on toxicology results, Montes said.

Lake County Jail records show ABBOTT has been jailed TWICE since he killed Gabriel Jones!

Booked into the Lake County Jail on 5/4/2012
Reckless Driving – first offense
Narcotic equip possess or use (later a no information was filed)
Narcotic equip possess or use (later a no information was filed)
Marijuana possess – not more than 20 grams
Dugs possess controlled substance w/o prescription
Drugs traffic 4 grams less 30 KG other controlled substance

Bonded out of the Lake jail on 5/4/2012 for $56,750.

No charges appear for dui-manslaughter until: yesterday!

DECEMBER 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM - JOHN SCOTT ABBOTT is booked in to the Lake County Jail for the second time.

This time he is charged with all the charges above except the two counts of “Narcotic equip possess or use “ (Dropped by Judge Semento) PLUS; Now he is charged with:

Vehicular Homicide – victim dies almost immediately
DUI – Manslaughter
Two Counts of – DUI W/ Serious Bodily Injury


So, was John Scott Abbott yet another protected species? OBVIOUSLY!

Or, is the “just us” system just so clogged up they forgot to charge Abbott with DUI Manslaughter until after the breaking news that his victim’s father and his community organizer friend from Chicago was kicking in doors in Tavares, Florida at 4 AM in the morning?

Once again Judge Larry Semento has been “jerking” the “just us” system around since May 2012 for John Scott Abbott’s only real charges – none of which included DUI-Manslaughter until Dec. 3, 2013. It is of course no defense for the violent actions of Coach Gavin Jones on Nov. 29, 2013, but watching the system protect a person who killed his child and cost him his marriage would be stressful to anyone.

Judge: -SEMENTO, LAWRENCE J- -Date Filed: -5/7/2012
Case Type: -Felony- -Case Status: -Open
Offense Date: -5/4/2012- -Arrest/Summons Date: -5/4/2012

Charge Number-Charge Description-Disposition Date-Disposition


Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.