Panama City, FL –
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Florida (WMBB) – A Florida sheriff has said two state agencies are betraying residents of his county.
“I demand better service from our state partners. We are their customers. The people of this county are their customers, ”Franklin County Sheriff AJ Smith said.
Franklin County Sheriff AJ Smith said residents were concerned about juvenile crime issues. Out of frustration, he decided to tackle the issues on Facebook on Tuesday night.
Smith said the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice are not doing their jobs.
“We had a child who was arrested several times. Kids and families won’t put him in, DJJ won’t take him, his family can’t take him, ”Smith said.
Smith said the 16-year-old boy was arrested for crimes including trespassing, motor vehicle theft and burglary.
But DJJ officials reportedly refused to help him because he did not meet the conditions to be locked up.
“We’ve been on the phone with them and for me it’s just a bunch of run-around,” Smith said. “No one wants to do anything that is supposed to do the job. If I had MPs doing that, I would fire them right away.
Smith said the DCF was trying to place the 16-year-old with his grandmother, but she would not be able to take care of him.
So on Tuesday night the miner’s father picked him up from Franklin County Jail. Smith said less than 24 hours later the boy was nowhere to be found. Smith is afraid of committing more serious crimes. And he’s not the only one at risk.
“They say, ‘I need help. I want love, ”and when they don’t get it anywhere they commit crimes,” Smith said. “And I know the people of Franklin County don’t want to be victimized by these children and we don’t want that to happen so we need the help of our state partners.”
We contacted DJJ and DCF for their responses.
DJJ officials did not speak of any specific cases, but said they are continuously working with partners to improve system processes and services.
DCF said it was aware of the situation and was working continuously with law enforcement, community partners and service providers.
Full statement from the Florida Department of Children and Families:
“DCF is aware of the situation and the ministry works closely with law enforcement, community partners and service providers on an ongoing basis. At this time, additional information is kept confidential in accordance with section 39.202, Florida Statutes.
Our department has focused on working with community stakeholders across the state to implement a multidisciplinary team and referral model to connect struggling families with behavioral health services. and community stabilization. Our efforts with this initiative are to prevent entry into the deep services and juvenile justice and child protection systems. The Department is focusing its efforts on supporting families to access the necessary services. Secretary Harris has implemented many changes in the ministry, including a focus on integrating our systems – breaking down silos to truly wrap our arms around children and families to meet their needs holistically. .“
Full statement from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice:
“The Ministry of Juvenile Justice strives to provide young people with the most appropriate services to meet their needs. The Department works with partners and stakeholders in the juvenile justice system, including law enforcement, state prosecutors, public defenders and courts, to provide these services and ensure public safety. The Department continuously works with partners to improve system processes and services for Florida youth and families.
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