Last week, the Florida Department of Children and Families sent their multiple investigations into the adoption agency Celebrate Children International to the Florida Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for review. After filing a public records request with the OIG, they sent me seven pages of information the same day. Florida’s public records laws are the best in the country– the sunshine state is no joke!
Last year, on November 30, 2010, DCF spokesperson Carrie Hoeppner filed a request with the OIG. Here’s what it said (red highlights are my own):
“Management review is being requested by DCF Central Region in regards to Celebrate Children Incorporated. There have been ongoing complaints since 2004. The Region has found that: Administrative codes governing the licensure of international adoptions have not been updated in approximately 20 years. The State of Florida has not adopted the model or standards (Hague Accreditation) set forth within the Hague Treaty, which has become the accepted accreditation that many host countries now require an agency to obtain in order to participate in the adoption process with that country. CCI was denied a Hague Accreditation and therefore may only work with specific host countries who do not participate in the Hague Treaty. There are questions of whether the Department and the State of Florida should require Hague Accreditation for licensure as a Child Placing Agency. There is no clear policy on who Department personnel should contact or direct clients with concerns outside the licensing scope of the Department, especially with allegations of international human trafficking or harvesting. Locally, licensing staff request additional training to best help them navigate though the various concerns often reported by discouraged clients, which may be outside the jurisdiction of the Department regarding licensing compliance.”
By December 3, 2010, the request had been passed over to the Internal Audit section of the Florida OIG. Here’s the breakdown related to Celebrate Children International provided to the OIG by DCF:
That’s pretty much all that was in the records, since the matter has been passed over to the Internal Audit section. I’m still waiting on them to provide documents to me, after filing a separate records request earlier this week.
On the very last page of this batch of documents, I found something that warmed my heart as an investigative journalist committed to work in the public service. Here it is: