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Video Contradicts DCF in Fatal Case

According to newly released video footage of a foster-care hearing in December, the Department of Children and Families urged a judge to reunite a mother with her children, one of whom was found dead two months later, the Orlando Sentinelreports. 

Sanford police say Rachel Fryer admitted to burying her 2-year-old in a shallow grave after the toddler had stopped breathing. Immediately after the child’s death, DCF and Community Based Care of Central Florida, a private-sector contractor that was supposed to monitor the children’s daily well-being, blamed the court system for returning the children to Fryer, according to the Sentinel.

But on Monday, the Seminole County court system released a video that showed DCF officials encouraged the court to return Fryer’s children to her.

DCF first removed Fryer’s four children from her custody in 2011 after she accidentally suffocated her 2-month-old baby. However, public records show that over the course of the next 2 ½ years, DCF changed its position multiple times on whether her parental rights should be reinstated.

This was one of 477 cases The Miami Heraldfound in examining six years of data in which children died of abuse or neglect after DCF had been warned they were unsafe.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.