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DCF Seeks Answers After Teen’s Suicide

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll told a Senate panel Monday that the agency is looking at why services were not effective in preventing the death last month of foster child Naika Venant, who hanged herself and broadcast it on social media.

Carroll told members of the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee that the agency is looking at what services were in place for the 14-year-old Miami-Dade County girl and how the agency could have delivered the services differently. Carroll said the girl and her family had longstanding problems.

"This is not going to be a question of, did the department make the right decision in terms of taking action x, y or z because I think the actions in this case were pretty sound," Carroll said. "The issue I have in this case is all of the services in place and all of the assessments done were unable to put all of the pieces back together for this young lady. And so we have got to really delve into the service delivery of these services and why they weren't effective."

Carroll also said the agency is trying to prevent a potential "copycat phenomenon" of children killing themselves and livestreaming it on social media.