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DCF Employees Denied Immunity in Abuse Case

(CN) - Three employees of Florida's Department of Children and Families are not entitled to immunity from a lawsuit accusing them of knowingly placing three foster children in a home with a sexually aggressive child, the 11th Circuit ruled.

Three minors and their parents sued Ed Foltz, Deborah Jones and Virginia Jordan in their individual capacities, claiming they violated the children's 14th Amendment rights by knowingly placing them in a dangerous environment.

The defendants moved to dismiss based on qualified immunity, but the district court turned them down.

The Atlanta-based appeals court affirmed, concluding that the defendants "knowingly placed plaintiffs in a home with another sexually aggressive child, but failed to implement a safety plan to protect the children."

The court also chided the defendants for being "deliberately indifferent ... by doing nothing to guard against this known and significant risk."

The defendants then left the children in the home, despite several reports of child-on-child sexual abuse, the ruling states.

"On the alleged facts," the court wrote, "no reasonable person in defendants' place could have believed that, by doing nothing to protect the children, they could carry out their duties consistently with the Constitution."

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