TAMPA — In a hearing over visitation rights for Angel Yulee Adams, the mother who lost custody of 12 children last month, a judge said Thursday an abuse report had come in involving one of her boys staying at a Brandon children's shelter.
Adams later said the incident was sexual in nature, involving other children, and that her son was a victim.
"It almost took me to my knees," she said. "Why do they let this happen to my babies?"
Family Court Judge Tracy Sheehan did not go into detail, saying privacy was in the best interest of the child. But she wanted agencies involved in the children's placement to be aware.
"See if there need to be any services that need to be put in place. … If anything is needed to ease any situation, let's do it, and do it right away," the judge said.
Nick Cox, regional director of the Department of Children and Families, said he could not discuss the case but said he has never had concerns about supervision at A Kid's Place, a $5.2 million, 60-bed temporary shelter for children from birth to 17.
According to Jeff Rainey, president of Hillsborough Kids Inc., more than 30 children are staying there. Instead of caretakers who take shifts, he said, full-time foster parents live in 12-bed cottages with the kids.
"This is our life," Rainey said. "We deal with this kind of stuff every day. We're not going to knee-jerk. If there's anyone at risk, yes, we're going to do whatever we have to do for the safety of the kid. But we also have to do some thorough assessments and look at the situation."
Adams, 37, had been living in a motel room with her dozen minor kids before a group comprised of children's advocates and state agencies paid her $6,000 debt to the Tampa Housing Authority last month and found them a six-bedroom home to live in, rent-free.
The mother showed no gratitude at a court hearing and was later thrown in jail after refusing to tell a judge if she was pregnant, a question to determine if a man would be living with them.
The kids have been in A Kid's Place since then. Adams eventually said she wasn't pregnant.
After her release from jail, she visited the kids in the shelter, but had to be escorted out when she became angry. In a court hearing that followed, she agreed to let a psychologist observe her with the children. The psychologist determined she was fit to have unsupervised visits with them.
"There will not be any hissy fits and bad words and anything of that sort around these kids," Sheehan told her, saying Adams could visit her children once or twice a week in a public place or at her brother Job Yulee's home.
Yulee told the judge Thursday he was willing to take on all 12 children. Officials need to work out issues involving the benefits he would receive for their care. They will meet June 8.
Alexandra Zayas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3354.