Florida child welfare officials pushes to return boy to home he fears

Miami HeraldMarch 1, 2012 

Florida child welfare administrators have described Edward Bailey and Marsee Strong as loving parents who deserve to get their children back after a brief stint in foster care that began when their 9-year-old son was found wandering the streets of North Miami Beach — naked and emaciated.

They urged prosecutors to seek the couple’s release from jail, and have told a Miami judge that the couple had not harmed their five children.

What they didn’t say: The 9-year-old at the center of the controversy has told his doctors he’s afraid to go home.

The boy’s fears came to light Wednesday at a hearing over hundreds of pages of records in the case being sought by The Miami Herald. Two weeks ago, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman ordered the Department of Children & Families to release more than 700 pages of the family’s history with the agency. DCF asked the judge to reconsider the order, a request she denied Wednesday.

The state Guardian-ad-Litem Program, which provides advocates for abused and neglected children, fought the newspaper’s request for court documents in the case, arguing the media and public could gain information about the boy’s well-being by attending open court hearings.

The judge disagreed. Anyone who understands the case “must have super powers,” she said, “because I’m sitting here, and I do not know what’s going on.”

Lederman was referring to reports from the boy’s doctors — concerns that had not been disclosed to her in court, she said — that he was afraid to return home.

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com

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