This month Vanessa Arias, 33, a former employee of the nonprofit Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, which is a subcontractor of the Florida DCF, was arrested after an investigation determined that she documented a welfare check that never happened. According to DCF records, she was fired in January. We are Kathey Raskin and Robert Raskin, and we are committed to bringing these cases to light so families and other concerned citizens can be made aware of the shortcomings within the systems that are set up to protect children.
A Tragic Case of Neglect
There were five children living in the household in question, and one girl reported to the police that her mother had been staying in the house sporadically, leaving the children to fend for themselves when she was not there. The girl told the police that she had been caring for her younger siblings and getting them ready for school every day on schedule, but the children had been using a single wax candle as their only source of light or heat. Between 2005 and 2014, 140 people died from fires in the state of Florida alone, making this a very risky situation for children.
What Arias’s Report Said
At the time of her false report, the disgraced DCF worker reported that the children were free from any visible signs of abuse or neglect, and all of their basic needs were being met. Within a week the Kissimmee Police Department visited the home in response to yet another report of neglect. It was during this visit that they determined Arias had not only not visited the home at all, she had not returned more than a dozen calls from the children who were depending on her for help.
The Case Against Arias
After her arrest, Arias was booked into Osceola County Jail, and her bond was set at $2,000, which she has since posted. Her trial is still pending as of this report, but the Office of the State Attorney, 9th Circuit, has said that they will prosecute. In response to the charge that the worker knowingly stated erroneous information, DCF released a statement that said, “The department has no tolerance for any individual compromising their integrity and, thereby, potentially jeopardizing the safety of a child.” In this case law enforcement was called in, but how often does this same thing happen when the case goes unreported? We are Robert Raskin and Kathey Raskin, and we, like many others, demand answers.