A Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) report released late Monday concluded that while state welfare authorities could have done a better job, Naika Venant’s relationship with her mother Gina Alexis played a significant role in her death.
One such person was a user going by the name of Gina Caze, an alias used by Naika’s mother.
When Naika was four, the agency was called to her mother’s home after the girl was left unattended by a male babysitter, with no food or running water. The report detailed the abuse. Alexis enrolled the girl in day care and moved to another home.
“Naika often told her therapist that she greatly missed her mother and really wanted to go back home.” “Despite everything that had occurred between Naika and her mother, Naika longed to be home,” said the report, written by members of a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team that was deployed by agency Secretary Mike Carroll after the child’s death in January.
Alexis refused to take Naika back, threatening to beat the then 11-year-old child if she was left there. Two months later, a Miami judge — over the objection of caseworkers and a court-ordered lay guardian — returned Naika to her mother. According to the report, Naika ran away in 2014, telling investigators she was afraid her mother would beat her.
The next year, after she was returned to her mother, DCF received a report that the girl was sexually abused while in foster care. The other child vehemently denied it, saying Naika was the aggressive one.
The mom of a 14-year-old foster child who hanged herself in a shower stall and live-streamed it on Facebook may have egged the girl on in her final moments by allegedly posting a response, saying she’s in foster care because of the "dumb s—" she does and if she keeps crying wolf she will end up dead.
Last November professionals recommended that Naika live in a “specialized therapeutic foster home.” But no bed was available.
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In April 2016, Alexis returned Naika to the state, saying she’d had it with her “behaviour.”
The child welfare agency was contacted when Alexis called Naika a liar and a faker. The next year, the report said, Naika went to the emergency room with an undisclosed chronic health condition.
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"#ADHD games played u sad little DCF custody jit that’s why u where u at for this dumb s— n more u keep crying wolf u dead u will get buried life goes on after a jit that doesn’t listen to there parents trying to be grown seeking boys and girls attention instead of her books," the user posted moments before the teen killed herself, the 20-page DCF report states, according to the Times.
– With Files From Postmedia Network
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She was removed from her mother’s home. She told therapists she slept in the room with her mother’s boyfriends and watched “sex movies.” Caseworkers sought to learn where the six-year-old girl had learned about sex. In 2009, the report says Alexis beat Naika with a belt after the girl was sexually aggressive with another child.
Naika possibly suffered years of sexual abuse, was beaten and rejected by Alexis and bounced between more than 14 foster homes, according to the report.
(Facebook/HO) Naika Venant.
It has not been confirmed whether or not Alexis was the actual user who posted the comment.
Alexis’ attorney Howard Talenfeld disputed the findings, telling the Miami Herald the report relies on inaccurate information and “is an apparent whitewash of the systemic failures.”
In the report, the DCF team faulted the mental health professionals who worked with Naika for treating the symptoms of her trauma and abuse “rather than addressing the trauma itself” and for failing to address the toxicity of the girl’s relationship with her mother.
Naika hanged herself with a scarf in a Miami Gardens foster home on Jan. Hundreds or people watched her live-stream, some of whom threw insults at her, calling the video fake and pushed her to commit suicide, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 22 during a three-hour-long Facebook Live broadcast.