McClatchy, in a 31-Oct-2012 report:
When leaders of a religious school became suspicious that one of their charges was gay, he was confronted and told to fess up: Is it true or is it false? When the boy said he was indeed gay, the head of his foster care shelter purportedly drove him to an isolated location, wept uncontrollably and screamed at him: “How could you do this to me?”
The next two years, the teen said, were pure hell.
He was 16 at the time, 19 now, living independently, and fighting for the kids still in the middle of the abuse.
Let’s lay out the players here.
Our Kids: Privately run foster care agency contracted by the state to oversee all Miami-Dade foster care. Barbara Toledo is its chief of programming operations.
His House Children’s Home: Provides foster care services to the state under the supervision of Our Kids. Jean Caceres-Gonzalez is its founder and heads it up.
Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF): Supervises foster care state-wide, so Our Kids reports to them. Christopher T. Hirst is its Inspector General; came to DCF after 28 years in law enforcement, per his official bio.
The 16-y/o was confronted by His House staff because they believed him to be dating a male fellow foster child (the friend was straight, though). Forced to answer yes or no, he said yes. Within days, Caceres-Gonzalez threw the tearful tantrum at him, he was drummed out of his Christian school, and isolated from the straight friend.
Toledo reported to DCF in a Sept-2012 letter that the young man bore all the marks of a credible reporter, and his reports included being mocked, isolated and dropped from programs.
Hirst’s reply, twice, was essentially move along, nothing to see here: “no violation of state or federal laws, rules or policies occurred with respect to the alleged harassment/discrimination of the former foster child.” Never mind whether the reported harassment/discrimination actually happened, it wasn’t prohibited even if it did.
Not to mention heartbreaking.
Worth repeating: None of this is about the young man suing to make things right for himself, he’s fighting for the kids still being served by His House Children’s Home. Good for him.