The Making of Florida’s Administrative Loophole to Mandatory Abuse Reporting Rule
DJJ’S INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS IS CORRUPTED
Fight Club, the recent Miami Herald expose by Carol Marbin Miller, provides a very detailed look into DJJ but is unable to go below the surface and understand the true reason kids are dying.
As expected, last Wednesday the State was able to fallback on the standard weak but plausible arguments that these incidents happened at the hands of ‘rogue employees’, or were the result of ‘poor pay’ or even ‘poor training’ – but there is something much deeper going on that the Herald has missed. Youth do not die or suffer severe beatings because of one employee – they die and suffer because the culture in DJJ is such that is common that no one employee will come forward.
Why would no one report these incidents? It is because these incidents occurred regularly and are part of the culture at DJJ.
You see, unfortunately, the employees working at DJJ:
a) do not trust they will be listened to,
b) fear they will not be protected from retaliation by violent youth within the facility,
c) fear they will suffer retaliation from their employer, and
d) fear they will lose their job and not be able to take care of their own family.
Most staff know what bad is happening to the youth under a facility’s roof, but the question is whether they have the ability to do something about it while still maintaining their job security.
So it really is illogical to think youth are beaten to death because of the difference in the caliber of candidate applying for a job due to a minor increase in pay. Youth are beaten and die because it gets so bad and progresses to the point that there are no boundaries; when every OIG investigation comes back as ‘unsubstantiated’ or is blamed on a ‘rogue employee’ the State is telling its employees that their voice does not matter.
Staff know that if they report an incident to the State, the State can and/or will do nothing to protect that individual in relation to their job security and physical safety while that person remains employed by a private vendor.
As a clear example of what I am talking about, I need to share how the State created an Administrative Exception to the Mandatory Abuse Reporting Rule to protect a DJJ Vendor who admitted to failure to report a potential abuse situation in their building for over 1 year.
- The facts are simple. In October 2011, an employee filed an EEOC complaint which stated the Administrator had taken children home with him. The complaint was faxed to YSI corporate office and seen by at least two vice presidents.
- On July 19, 2013, the State obtained sworn testimony from a YSI Vice President that the Company had received the employee’s report of alleged abusive behavior. The Vice President testified he did not believe he was a mandatory reporter even though he was the Vice President of Human Resources.
- DJJ OIG’s Chief then submitted a “Draft Findings” to DJJ Chief of Staff Jason Welty and YSI so it could respond. (The DJJ Secretary never sees the draft findings.)
- On December 2, 2013, YSI submitted their formal response to the draft findings. YSI stated the employees named as witnesses in the OIG’s investigation were the ones who failed to report abuse – even though the VP provided sworn testimony one of the employees did report to the corporate entity.
- YSI further argued that because the Vice President did not directly oversee youth, or work in the facility, he should not be held responsible for failure to respond.
- On February 24, 2014 – DJJ turns on the employees who came forward as witnesses. DJJ revised the OIG findings to be lockstep with YSI’s response. DJJ eliminated the Vice President’s testimony from the record and only held accountable the employees who had come forward and provided sworn testimony as witnesses.
In order for the State of Florida to improve the juvenile justice system, it must establish a trusting relationship with staff and people working on the front lines – and it must rid itself of all corrupted influence in a world where political image has become more important than substantive changes for good or bad.
Below is evidence that the State does not stand with staff and will go as far as ignoring sworn testimony of failure to report a potential pedophile in order to protect for profit private prison corporations over individual employees.
Or Maybe I Am A Wrong? Take a listen and piece together the documents…
The below audio is the sworn Testimony of YSI Vice President acknowledging receipt of the allegation an administrator had taken children home with him and the Vice President stating he is not familiar with Mandatory Abuse Reporting Rules and CCC’s reporting requirements. Minutes 23-30 is where it gets really important…
YSI/Bryant Miller Olive’s Response to DJJ OIG Draft Findings Substantiating YSI Failure to Report Abuse
The above link contains YSI’s response to DJJ’s draft findings. DJJ accepts every suggestion in YSI’s reply as documented in the link below.
Draft Findings and DJJ Changes to Create Administrative Exception to the Mandatory Reporting Rule
The above link contains DJJ’s reply to YSI’s response to DJJ’s initial draft findings substantiating that the corporation failed to report an allegation of abuse.
YSI argued that the employees were solely responsible for failure to report even though YSI’s Vice President gave sworn testimony that one of the employees did report the allegations of abuse directly to the corporate office.
Attached to DJJ’s letter are pages of the draft findings that stated the Corporate Entity Failed Their Duty To Report. The draft findings only listed the 5 employees who came forward as witnesses.
DJJ OIG Report – IG # 12-0017 – against employees – CCC #2012-00725 – YSI Corporate is omitted
Upon receiving YSI’s response, the draft findings which held the corporation responsible were scrapped. DJJ OIG decided it did not want to include the Vice President’s testimony in the final report
The only allegations sustained were against the employees who came forward as witnesses to the Administrator having inappropriate relationships.
To the best of my knowledge – and this is what must be determined to prevent future corruption of DJJ OIG investigations – the Chief of Staff made the decision to retroactively narrow the scope of the investigation to exclude the corporate entity. The Chief of Staff at this time was Jason Welty, a former aide of Governor Scott.
DJJ OIG created an administrative exception to the requirement to report abuse to protect the for profit private prison corporation.
DJJ sacrificed the employees who came forward as witnesses to protect the corporate entity for sitting on knowledge for almost 2 years that one of its administrator was having highly inappropriate relationships with children.
IG 10-0073 – Reporting abuse policy – 2 pages
The above link is DJJ’s abuse reporting policy.
Florida Attorney General Opinion Of Who Is A Mandatory Reporter – AG Charlie Crist
The above link is then Attorney General Charlie Crist’s legal advisory that all people are mandatory reporters, but some people who are mandatory reporters are also mandated to identify themselves and cannot remain anonymous due to their profession.