Advertisement
  1. Archive

ABDUCTION'S RED FLAGS IGNORED, REVIEW FINDS

The child welfare worker saw the toddler had bruises, cuts, a staph infection, dirty diapers. Visits to doctors had been missed. The house was messy. The mother lied more than once.

A relative even warned that the mother is likely to abduct her own child and take her out of state.

The caseworker overlooked numerous warning signs in the case of Courtney Alisa Clark, now 2, before she was kidnapped by her mother, Candice Farris, in September from a Central Florida foster home, according to a review released Friday by one of the agencies responsible for her care.

The child was discovered earlier this month at a home in Portage, Wis., where investigators also found a severely abused 11-year-old boy and the body of his mother buried in the back yard.

At least 15 mistakes were made in the case of the missing 2-year-old, according to the review by the Safe Children Coalition, part of the Sarasota Family YMCA.

Bob Butterworth, secretary of the state Department of Children and Families, called the numerous bumblings inexcusable and promised an aggressive investigation into why it took a caseworker four months to report the girl missing to law enforcement. During a Friday press conference, he said the DCF is joining a court request filed Friday by the St. Petersburg Times to open all records on the case.

"I'm terribly unhappy, to put it politely," he said

The YMCA is one of two dozen private agencies that provide foster care services statewide through DCF contracts.

The YMCA review pointed to errors made by two caseworkers who worked for the agency's subcontractor, Directions for Mental Health in Clearwater. The first caseworker, whose name was not released, quit last year, said Directions for Mental Health president Tom Riggs. It was the second caseworker, Carmen Callero, who failed to report the girl missing.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement