An ongoing investigation has revealed children in Florida’s foster care system are being recruited as prostitutes. The Florida Department of Children and Families says it’s horrified by the allegations that pimps were targeting girls in group homes subcontracted by the state.
Four Miami-Dade men were arrested this week for allegedly recruiting girls in foster care group homes
for sex work. The private homes contract with the state. And just last week, a South Florida DCF investigator was arrested and charged with repeatedly having sex with a teenage girl in foster care. DCF spokesman Joe Follick says that man’s actions are not typical.
“We have 1,300 investigators statewide who daily go into situations that most of us, thankfully, can’t even fathom," Follick says. "We visit families that are facing substance abuse problems, mental illness, domestic violence problems. And the great work they do every day should not be tainted by the actions of one person.”
The group homes being investigated are in Miami and Jacksonville. Follick says DCF is thoroughly reviewing training procedures for all subcontractors and employees.
NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the four men arrested as group home employees. While the men did target girls who live in group homes, they were not workers there.