TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBS/AP) The suicide of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers in April 2009 was tragic in and of itself, and now a new report set to be released by the Gabriel Myers Work Group - appointed by Department of Children & Families Secretary George Sheldon to investigate Gabriel's death - says that, with a little oversight by counselors and communication between caregivers, it could have been prevented.
The task force says that Florida's welfare agency should develop an alert system to better monitor children with sexual behavior issues. It also suggests that the Department of Children and Families should establish a statewide database tracking children with sexual behavior issues.
Wednesday's 28-page report is the second from the task force. The first report focused on the increasing and possibly overwhelming use mental-health drugs to control unruly foster children, according to the Miami Herald. The first report stated that state child-welfare authorities frequently use powerful mind-altering drugs to manage troubled youngsters, rather than treat their anger and sadness.
The new report states that DCF should reassess those children frequently and share information more quickly with caregivers.
The report says the fact that Gabriel told his case workers that he had not only been sexually abused, but was also abusing other children - a common occurrence among children who are sexually abused - highlights the lack of communication between welfare workers and school authorities, because it appears administrators at Broward County Schools were never alerted to the possibility he might abuse other children, according to the Herald.
Gabriel's case "was replete with missed opportunities to more effectively serve the needs of this child," the new report says."Numerous warning signs that Gabriel was in crisis were evident but were not addressed adequately or in a timely manner."
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