DCF: We left Aleman children in ‘vulnerable state’ before tot’s death


The Florida Department of Children and Families left all 10 of the Aleman children “untreated in a vulnerable state” by not doing a deeper investigation into complaints against the Loxahatchee parents accused of starving their baby daughter to death.

Those findings come after an internal review of the department’s involvement with the Alemans, which records show began in September 2013 after it received word that the children were not in school.

Three more allegations of abuse were pursued before 13-month-old Tayla Aleman died from extreme malnutrition in April.

READ MORE: DCF documents detail how Tayla Aleman starved to death

Officials concluded they “missed opportunities” to intervene, as investigation reports lacked detail, didn’t home in on the father’s lack of cooperation and failed to follow up on unresolved issues such as possible family disputes, records show.

But a heavy caseload isn’t to blame, DCF officials said in their findings.

In regard to the last investigation before Tayla’s death, “there were no indicators the investigator’s caseload or intake of reports was excessively high” at that time, the report states.

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll called Tayla’s death “senseless and avoidable.” In the department’s southeast region, the department has placed greater emphasis on a case supervisor’s role and responsibility in making decisions for children at a high risk of being abused. The department also mandated additional training about the models used to handle cases, the department said Wednesday.

In September 2013, DCF was told Kristen and Alejandro Aleman — who both face first-degree murder and aggravated child-abuse charges — hadn’t enrolled their children in school. Officials never followed up to ensure the children had been enrolled, documents show.

Nor did they follow up with concerns about the children’s speech and developmental delays, records show. The last investigation into the Alemans before Tayla’s death noted the children were dirty and in bad shape, according to records.

But the case was closed because “all the children appeared to be well taken care of, clean and free of marks and bruises,” the report states.

The recent DCF review discovered it had been suggested that Alejandro Aleman had a substance-abuse problem, but it wasn’t noted in the already thin reports.

DCF officials nod toward Alejandro Aleman being the root of the family’s lack of cooperation, with records stating he had “an obvious power and control over the family” and allegedly kept the children and his wife from speaking to DCF.

The other Aleman children — the oldest now 15 and the youngest born four months after Tayla died — are all in DCF custody, with the younger children in foster homes.

“The death of this young child was senseless and avoidable,” Carroll said. “Our top priority is the safety and emotional health of her siblings.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Original 'Kiss Me, Kate' star Patricia Morison dead at 103
Original 'Kiss Me, Kate' star Patricia Morison dead at 103

Patricia Morison, who played the shrewish lead role in the 1948 Cole Porter Broadway musical “Kiss Me, Kate,” died Sunday, Variety reported. She was 103.  Morison also appeared on stage with Yul Brynner in “The King and I” and starred in films such as “The Song of Bernadette.” She also appeared as Basil...
Wellington deals with ‘exceptional’ rainfall, water levels expected to rise
Wellington deals with ‘exceptional’ rainfall, water levels expected to rise

As rain continues to pound Palm Beach County, Wellington is working to mitigate the effects as days of storms add up.  The village received more than 4 inches of rain from Saturday afternoon through Sunday, Wellington said in a news release. “The village has received an exceptional amount of rainfall over the last four weeks,&rdquo...
LATEST: Man charged in Boynton drive-by that injures teen gets $20,000 bond
LATEST: Man charged in Boynton drive-by that injures teen gets $20,000 bond

An 18-year-old boy who allegedly shot and injured a teen in Boynton Beach Wednesday night was given a $20,000 bond by a Palm Beach County Court judge Saturday morning. Cleevens Altiner was arrested Friday and faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and aggravated battery with a firearm. The judge ordered a $10...
Accused Santa Fe shooter won't get death penalty -- and could get paroled someday 
Accused Santa Fe shooter won't get death penalty -- and could get paroled someday 

Even though Dimitrios Pagourtzis was charged as an adult in the mass shooting at a southeastern Texas high school Friday, he will not face the death penalty and could even be eligible for parole someday, the Houston Chronicle reported. Pagourtzis, 17, a high school junior, admitted to the shootings that killed 10 and wounded 13, according to court...
Trump demands Justice Department probe claims of spying on his 2016 campaign
Trump demands Justice Department probe claims of spying on his 2016 campaign

In a tweet Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he will demand that the Justice Department investigate whether it or the FBI spied on his 2016 presidential campaign for political reasons, CNN reported. "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated...
More Stories