CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A foster care home in Clearwater has been shut down as a result of a criminal investigation. Clearwater police tell 8 On Your Side they were called to assist in the removal of nine foster children on Monday night.
Police said the home was shut down because of a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual nature.
Security cameras from a nearby business showed what unfolded Monday night when some of the foster kids tried to run away.
“Anytime you have any nature of an allegation where a child is a victim it’s taken with the caution and taken very serious,” said Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter.
Slaughter said his department assisted child protective investigators in shutting down a foster home in the Clearwater Bay neighborhood, helping to secure some of the kids who didn’t want to go.
“Fortunately, we were able to get everybody together able to get everybody corralled and get to the bottom of what’s going on,” the chief said.
The police report details how as many as six caseworkers were at the home, but things got out of hand. Officers rounded up some of the kids by the water, and near Bayview park. News Channel 8 was told they were all transported to other foster care facilities safely.
Authorities said three days before, officers visited the home for a child welfare investigation.
When we asked the Department of Children And Families about it, the agency sent 8 On Your Side this statement:
“The heinous allegations in this case are troubling and upon learning of the allegations the Department took immediate action. We are working with law enforcement, and will ensure a full investigation will take place.”
“The Department is launching a review of the licensing process and related concerns of this home with our contracted providers, as well as our own internal processes. This is in addition to the standard investigations conducted by the Department concerning any allegation of abuse, neglect or abandonment.”
8 On Your Side’s Brittany Muller went to the home, no one answered, but she spoke with the foster mom on the phone. The foster mom denied the children had been removed from the home. She also said authorities are conducting a fraud investigation and declined to answer any questions about the circumstances.
No one has been charged with a crime, but allegations under investigation caused DCF to shut down the home.
News Channel 8 will stay on this story.