Florida DCF has moved to shut down a Florida adoption agency, Adoption by Shepherd Care. They say, according to a new article by Megan O’Matz in the Florida Sun-Sentinel, that one of the reasons is “pressuring a birth mother into giving up her infant twin sons.” The Sun-Sentinel obtained records about the adoption agency from Florida DCF (which I would assume were probably handed over via Freedom of Information Act request!)
O’Matz’s piece quotes DCF department spokesman Mark Riordan saying, “DCF isn’t going to tolerate coercive behavior by these agencies, ever.”
The agency Adoption by Shepherd Care (ASC) works in both domestic and international adoption, and has been around since 1980, according to their website. Based in Hollywood, ASC is a non-profit Christian agency, and also advertises children on Precious.org. ASC’s international adoption program, according to their website, consists solely of a Colombia adoption program– but the Sun-Sentinel article says they also used to work in other countries, including Guatemala.
The agency’s Facebook page hasn’t mentioned anything about DCF’s move.
Here’s the full story in the Sun-Sentinel: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-shepherd-care-adoption-20110529,0,5348651.story
UPDATE 9/1/2011: I have filed another public records request to see what happened with this investigation.
UPDATE 9/24/2011: Nothing back from DCF yet, although the Florida Sun Sentinel published a new story that says Adoptions by Shepherd Care will remain open. Here’s an excerpt:
“State regulators have backed off efforts to close a Hollywood-based adoption agency but imposed stringent conditions that Adoption by Shepherd Care must meet to stay open.
The adoption agency also must pay a $10,000 fine, according to the settlement agreement it signed last month with Florida’s Department of Children & Families.
“We were willing to give them, literally, one more chance,” said DCF spokesman Mark Riordan.
The agency contends that it proved to DCF administrators that the state’s case against it was flawed and without merit….”