TAMPA — An angry judge Thursday jailed a mother of 15 children whose hostility toward people trying to rescue her from homelessness may cause her to lose custody of her 12 youngest.
After bailiffs handcuffed Angel Yulee Adams and took her away, a Department of Children and Families official said the state would probably seek to take permanent custody of the 12 children who are under 18.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan found the 37-year-old mother in contempt of court when Adams refused to answer her questions. The DCF's regional director, Nick Cox, who attended, said the hearing was intended to pave the way for Adams to move the 12 children into a rent-free home today.
In court, Sheehan repeatedly asked Adams for the names of relatives who would be visiting the home or providing child care, Cox said. The state routinely checks the backgrounds of visitors to ensure the safety of the children.
Each time, Adams replied: "No comment."
Sheehan also repeatedly asked Adams if she is pregnant.
Adams again replied: "No comment."
Cox said the judge instructed the mother's court-appointed attorney, Scott Horvat, to counsel Adams privately. But when the hearing resumed, Adams again refused to answer Sheehan.
The judge will allow Adams another chance to answer questions at a hearing today. Cox said he will probably ask Sheehan to put the children in foster care.
Sheehan has long expressed frustration over Adams' refusal to cooperate with child protection officers.
The hearing Thursday was the 29th time in 21 months that Adams has stood in her court. Even though a group of agencies has worked to provide the home and pay off her debts, Adams has consistently blamed them for her homelessness and demanded they get out of her life.