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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

State officials refused intervention when gay foster child complained of abuse

1

November

 When leaders of a religious school became suspicious that one of their charges was gay, he was confronted and told to fess up: Is it true or is it false? When the boy said he was indeed gay, the head of his foster care shelter then purportedly drove him to an isolated location, wept uncontrollably and screamed at him: “How could you do this to me?”

The next two years, the teen said, were pure hell. He was expelled from the Christian school, in which he had been enrolled by the shelter. He was forbidden to speak with his best friend, a young man shelter administrators erroneously believed also was gay. Staff tried repeatedly to “convert” him to heterosexuality. Other staffers “humiliated and harassed” the boy — and so did other foster kids who were housed with him.

“They always told us that God is love, but I guess there’s no God there,” the teen wrote to his court-ordered guardian of his experience at His House Children’s Home. “Please help them,” he added, referring to other gay children he believed were experiencing similar treatment.

Administrators of Our Kids, the privately run foster care agency that oversees His House, interviewed the teenager and found his story credible. The agency asked the Department of Children & Families — twice — to investigate the treatment of the youth. But DCF refused to look into the case.

In a letter dated Oct. 12, DCF Inspector General Christopher T. Hirst said the youth’s treatment did not violate “state or federal laws, rules or policies.” More from the Herald's Carol Marbin Miller here. 

 

[Last modified: Thursday, November 1, 2012 2:48pm]

    

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