Miami — Florida's child welfare agency employs at least 183 people with criminal pasts, including felonies such as child molestation, child abuse, sex crimes and drug dealing, according to a report.
Among the Department of Children & Families employees with criminal records, three were punished for child abuse, 22 for grand theft, seven for aggravated battery, two for DUI manslaughter, three for dealing drugs, 10 for aggravated assault with a weapon and nine for welfare fraud, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
One employee, the head of the agency's data-security team in Tallahassee, is listed on the state's list of sexual predators for molesting a 5-year-old boy. DCF spokesman Tim Bottcher said the agency does not consider the man a risk because he does not come into contact with clients.
DCF officials said the agency was aware in most cases of the charges against the employees and conducted background checks to make sure their lives were on track and that DCF clients would not be in danger. But administrators acknowledged that in some cases they did not know about the criminal pasts.
Three employees submitted their resignations after the newspaper exposed that they had not disclosed their criminal records to the DCF as required.