A Charlotte County mother is livid after learning her son was sexually assaulted by another child at a group foster care facility in Naples, she told the Sun.
The mother — who the Sun is not naming in the interest of not identifying her child — said her son was taken to Youth Haven facility on Nov. 20, and the alleged incident occurred on Nov. 24. An incident report from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office states the boy requested to speak with a case manager/councilor on Nov. 27 and said another juvenile sexually assaulted him on Nov. 24 around 11 p.m.
The mother was not informed until Nov. 29, and she was furious.
“I’m so beside myself; I just want justice for my child,” she said. “Can you imagine how this 10-year-old boy is feeling right now? It crushes me because I can be nowhere near him.”
She’s been able to speak on the phone with her son but is still frustrated by the lack of information she’s received. She doesn’t know whether the 14-year-old boy has been removed from the facility or not, and she has no idea when her son can come home.
The Department of Children and Families said the information that can be released about the incident is limited by state statute.
“We have opened a child protection investigation into the concerning allegations and are working closely with the facility to ensure safety plans are in place for the protection of the children involved. Further information remains confidential and cannot be disclosed,” said DCF spokesperson Natalie Harrell.
Neither the facility, nor the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, who handles the placement of foster children, would confirm or deny the child’s involvement in the foster care system.
All the mother wants is to have her kids home for Christmas.
“Christmas is such a magical time, and to celebrate a holiday like that without your children is heartbreaking,” she said.
She told the Sun her five children were recently taken into foster care while she and her husband were homeless and she tested positive for marijuana. She said she has PTSD and prescribed medication doesn’t work for her panic attacks.
Both she and her husband work full-time jobs and are now staying at her mother-in-law’s home trying to save money for a place of their own. Their DCF case plan requires substance abuse classes she says they don’t need and can’t afford.
“We’re not alcoholics; we’re not drug addicts,” she said. “We can’t even afford a house right now, so what makes them think we can spend money on narcotics and alcohol?”
In the meantime, she’s worried something else might happen to her son at the facility.
“You’ve got to have eyes around your whole head,” she said. “Even if that happened at bedtime, they should have peeked on these kids and checked on them. What if one kid snuck string or a rope in and decided to hang himself? You’ve got to watch these children.”