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Foster Care Child Molestation

Broward, FL: (Feb-04-08) Several lawsuits were brought against the Department of Children & Families (DCF), accusing it of mishandling reports that Thomas Ferrara, 79, a foster parent, was molesting young girls. The suits claimed that though there were records of sexual misconduct allegations against Ferrara in 1992, 1996, and 1999, the DCF continued to place foster children with Ferrara and his then-wife until 2000. Sources said that no criminal charges resulted from the 1992 and 1996 allegations after agency officials found the reported victims not credible or that there was no evidence to support the accusations.

Ferrara was arrested in 2001; after a 9-year-old girl told detectives he regularly molested her over two years and threatened to hurt her mother if she told anyone. Ferrara pleaded no contest to criminal charges, but denies he ever hurt his foster children. Records show that Ferrara had as many as 400 children go through his home during his 16 years as a licensed foster parent from 1984 to 2000. Sources close to the case stated that the DCF agreed to resolve allegations with a $175,000 settlement in the third and last remaining case regarding Ferrara. Officials stated that the lawsuits over Ferrara will end up costing the state almost $2.26 million. [SUN SENTINEL: CHILD ABUSE]


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Last updated on Feb-4-08

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