Tuesday, March 6, 2007


WEST PALM BEACH -- Lawsuits accusing the Department of Children and Families of failing to do its job are rising to "epidemic proportions" and overloading South Florida courts, according to the chief appeals court judge.

Chief Judge Mark Polen, who heads the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, wrote in an opinion released Wednesday that his court receives complaints about DCF on a "startlingly regular basis."

More parents are asking the appeals court to give back their children,
saying DCF did not do anything to help them keep their families together as required by law, he wrote.

To Polen, the cases show a pattern of "pervasive and defective performance" by the state.

The DCF caseworker's failure to monitor P. O.'s progress violates Florida law, which requires DCF to make a reasonable attempt to keep families together, the judges wrote.

By Kathleen Chapman, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

*Re print of article published on March 6, 2003

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