Action Alert:

Take Action Now: Death of Alleged Child Rape Victim Needs Answers

Allegedly raped at age 7 while in the care of the Florida’s child welfare system, Naika Venant ultimately took her own life at age 14 on social media. According to reports, since last April she was housed in 10 different homes and shelters prior to her suicide. There’s several questions surrounding her treatment in foster care that need to be answered:

  • What specialized, therapeutic care did Naika receive, and did it include on-going highly qualified clinical intervention? Was a relationship established with a rape crisis center and was it ongoing?
  • Was there a problem with accessing needed services due to Medicaid, specifically the reimbursement rate?
  • Why was the child shuttled between upwards of ten foster homes? How many case managers were involved?
  • Were the required post assessments conducted and what measures were taken to prevent multiple moves?
  • What tests were performed that encompass the “extensive battery of assessments” that Naika allegedly received? Who administered the tests and what was done with the information?
  • What restrictions were in place to “keep the child safe” at the time of her death? Why were these put in place?
  • How was Naika’s case plan proceeding? Was the focus on reunification?

Members of the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee are going to hear the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) review of the case this coming week. They will have a chance to ask pointed questions that could help shed light on the factors contributing to this unthinkable tragedy, and ultimately protect other children from the same fate. Please contact the members of the committee before Thursday, 2/23 at 9:30am and urge them to seek answers to these questions (focus on chair, vice chair and your representative if you can only send a few emails):

Gayle Harrell (Chair) – District 83 – (850) 717-5083

Julio Gonzalez (Vice Chair) – District 74 – (850) 717-5074

Kionne L. McGhee – District 117 – (850) 717-5117

Thad Altman – District 52 – (850) 717-5052

Michael M. Grant – District 75 – (850) 717-5075

Don Hahnfeldt – District 33 – (850) 717-5033

Rene Plasencia – District 50 – (850) 717-5050

Barrington A. Russell – District 95 – (850) 717-5095

David Santiago – District 27 – (850) 717-5027

Emily Slosberg – District 91 – (850) 717-5091

Ross Spano – District 59 – (850) 717-5059

Cyndi Stevenson – District 17 – (850) 717-5017

Matt Willhite – District 86 – (850) 717-5086

Patricia H. Williams – District 92 – (850) 717-5092

Jayer Williamson – District 3 – (850) 717-5003

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