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Naika Venant

Did DCF create media frenzy after foster child’s suicide to distract from agency errors?

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Naika Venant’s mother vehemently refutes narratives by the state agency in a March 13 report, including suggestion she ‘allegedly’ commented on Facebook Live thread taunting daughter while watching and did nothing; lawyer says agencies ‘abysmally failed’ Naika. *** Naika Venant was a girl whose personality had turned from that of a bright and gifted child – despite her naïveté toward adult subject matter – to one of rebelliousness and anger, according to records and her mother. The dark transition leading…

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Psychotropic cocktail may have contributed to Facebook Live suicide

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Part of a psychological evaluation administered to Naika Venant in June 2015 included a sentence completion test. For the beginning stem sentence “The thing I want to do most of all is …” the then-12-year-old girl responded: “Die happy.” Sentence tests can provide indications of attitudes, beliefs, motivations or other mental states. Other sentences she finished: “My best friend is … I don’t have a best friend.” “The person I’m most afraid of is … nobody.” “I would do anything…

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Mother of Facebook Live suicide teen may have taunted her while watching

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In a twist to a horrible tragedy in Miami in January, a foster child who committed suicide live on social media may have been watched by her mother, according to a Florida Department of Children (DCF) and Families report released to the media Monday. Naika Venant, 14, hung herself Jan. 22 with a scarf in the bathroom of her foster home while broadcasting the heartbreaking event for three hours in the run-up to taking her life on the Facebook Live…

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Range of DCF oversight issues, bills to be debated by Florida lawmakers this Session

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As legislators in Tallahassee prepare themselves to convene their 60-day Session Tuesday, expect an assortment of proposed bills to be hashed out over the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Hot-button subjects with bipartisan support in the Senate and House include improvements in mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, working toward identifying and reducing human trafficking, better child protection and a funding shift from the federal level, according to several officials who spoke with FloridaPolitics.com ahead of Session. The…

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Dismayed, DCF head Mike Carroll explains fragments of Facebook Live suicide case

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Standing before the members of the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee Thursday, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll admitted Naika Venant had been in out of foster care since 2009. Since April alone, she had been in 10 foster homes alone that included a hotel and a child welfare office building, according to one report by the Miami Herald, citing the girl’s attorney. But Naika, 14, closed her chapter on this planet through suicide, hanging herself, shockingly,…

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Mike Carroll: “We aren’t always able” to save “broken” children

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The head of the state’s child welfare agency told a legislative panel his department has now handed over “5,000 pages of documents” to a judge looking into why a foster child hung herself while broadcasting it on social media. Mike Carroll, secretary of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), spoke to the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee this week. Naika Venant, a 14-year-old Miami-Dade County girl who was in and out of foster care starting in 2009, killed herself last month during a Facebook Live video.…

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Florida’s children live and die at the crowded corner of Dickens & Orwell, part 2

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Naika Venant kept a journal and hoped one day to write a memoir. Instead, her life story will be told by the Miami Herald. Eight of the paper’s most experienced reporters collaborated Tuesday to piece together the last hours of the last chapter of the 14-year-old foster child’s life.  But it was old news to the thousand people who watched in real time on Facebook as Naika hung herself by the neck until dead. An all-star cast of usual suspects showed…

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