Saturday, September 22, 2018
News Roundup

Foster mom of 4-year-old dropped off at wrong house says she alerted child welfare

TAMPA — Patricia Hunter has opened her home to children for more than 20 years.

As a foster mom, she's dealt with bed wetters and fussy eaters, kids who need endless hugs and others who don't want to be held.

Until last week, she hadn't experienced having one of her children delivered to the wrong home.

Hunter, 61, was the foster mom of the 4-year-old girl dropped at the wrong house by a Camelot Community Care driver on Jan. 23. That night, she said, she called the lead child welfare agency to report that the girl had not arrived. Nonetheless, she feels she has been indirectly blamed for an incident that was not her fault.

"This has become a nightmare," she said. "I got a bad rap for sitting here waiting for my kid."

The child, whom Hunter knows as Ty, was dropped off at RaSheeda Yates' east Tampa home about 7:45 p.m. The driver had put the wrong address into his GPS and was later fired for the mistake.

Two miles away, Hunter was at home caring for two other foster kids and was waiting for Ty. She had a plate of spaghetti ready.

Ty would normally arrive between 7:30 and 8 p.m. after spending the day at a day care center. The minivan carrying her and other kids typically has to make a lot of stops to drop kids off at different foster homes, Hunter said.

As the evening went on and Ty did not arrive, Hunter wondered if she was visiting with her biological mother or her siblings. Visits are sometimes scheduled on short notice, she said.

When it got to 9 p.m., she began to get worried. She waited another 30 minutes and then called the placement office of Eckerd Kids, the lead child welfare agency in Hillsborough County.

They thought she already had the child and said they would look into it, she said.

Finally, some time after 10 p.m., a Tampa police officer knocked on her door and told her that Ty had been dropped at the wrong house. She was told the Camelot driver was new to the job.

"It was scary, unnerving to me," she said. "Anyone can make a mistake but this is dangerous."

She threw a house dress over her pajamas, loaded her two other foster kids into her black pickup truck and went to get Ty.

Just days after the incident, Eckerd transferred Ty to a new foster home.

Even before the girl was misplaced, Hunter said she had already requested that Ty be moved. The girl, who was separated from her siblings, was very distressed and needed to be in a home where she could get more one-on-one care, Hunter said. The girl cried every day and would frequently crawl up on Hunter's lap, wanting to be held.

The girl's initial reluctance to go home with her is common among foster kids, Hunter said.

"They look at me as the bad guy because I can't give them to their mom," she said.

Eckerd declined to comment on why the child was moved to a different foster home.

Yates, the 37-year-old mother of four who looked after Ty for several hours, received a thank-you card from Eckerd for her good deed.

She said her heart went out to the little girl who is pining for her mother. She considered adoption, but is aware that the mother, who is homeless, is trying to regain custody.

"I told her I would help her as much as I could," Yates said.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.

Comments
Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

TRINITY — What at first looked like a defensive stalemate between Clearwater and Mitchell quickly turned into a rout.Clearwater had revenge on its mind Friday night after a 45-28 loss to Mitchell last year during the the regular seaso...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

TAMPA — The decision was made as soon as Hillsborough got the ball back. Trailing by a touchdown with just over four minutes remaining against Tampa Bay Tech, the Terriers had the ball on their own 6-yard line.They hadn't been able to move the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

LARGO — The offense was relentless and merciless Friday night, but that has been the case a lot recently. Largo is scoring points in bunches and getting contributions from everyone. Add in a defense that has been smothering, as well as a special team...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays bounce back big after a debacle

Rays bounce back big after a debacle

TORONTO — The way the Rays played Friday — all nine innings, lesson learned — in beating the Jays 11-3 provided the best answer on how, or even if, they could rebound from the crushing loss the night before that all but ended their ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Football: Sickles 7, Freedom 3

TAMPA — Sickles needed a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to escape Freedom 7-3 on Homecoming and remain in the hunt for a Class 7A, District 8 title.Gryphons coach Patrick Murphy knew that facing the Patriots would be a battle. Freedom (1-...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Armwood 24, Jefferson 14

SEFFNER — Armwood is becoming accustomed to winning close games.The Hawks fended off visiting Jefferson 24-14 in a defensive battle that featured a plethora of holding penalties in the second half.Armwood (3-1) earned two rushing touchdowns from juni...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Plant 44, Gaither 34

TAMPA — Seventy-eight points. Eight hundred and 40 yards in total offense. Five players surpassing the century mark in yardage.When the game was over Friday, Plant had the edge in every category — including the scoreboard as the Panthers (3-1) opened...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Robinson 28, Blake 25

TAMPA — Nevermind that Blake scored a go-ahead touchdown with 87 seconds left in the game.Forgive him, but part of Robinson junior Lateef Al-Shaa’ir was hoping it would happen just so it would set up a comeback.And it did.With 24 seconds left in the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: St. Petersburg 23, Gibbs 6

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg’s Aumhryaun Brown’s two touchdowns helped overcome the ejection of quarterback Tonio Shavers as the Green Devils cruised to a 23-6 win against Gibbs on Friday.As time expired during the first half, with the Green Devil...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Plant City 24, East Bay 7

GIBSONTON — Plant City’s high-powered passing game gets most of the attention. But the Raiders’ defense is just as responsible for the team’s unbeaten start.In Plant City’s 24-7 road victory against East Bay in Class 7A, District 9 on Friday, the def...
Updated: 6 hours ago