TAMPA, FL – Our I-Team has discovered a Department of Children and Families employee has been removed from working with the state’s child abuse hotline and the child welfare division.
This comes after officials say the hotline counselor failed to pursue a tip involving a two-month-old baby recently found murdered in Sarasota County.
The child abuse hotline counselor, Alexys Evans, is now an accountant for DCF’s administrative services.
DCF Secretary Mike Carroll admits the agency had “system failures” in this case.
While still in the hospital, one day after two-month-old Chance Walsh was born, DCF received a tip on its child abuse hotline.
The tipster warned the baby could be in danger and stated the mother “may be using opiates.”
The tip was never investigated. DCF tells us Evans thought it was just hearsay.
Eight weeks later, Baby Chance was killed and his parents have been charged with murder and child neglect.
The DCF’s Secretary told a senate committee he recently listened to the hotline conversation and his counselor made a “bad call” when she dismissed it.
“That call met the protocol to be accepted. We had enough information to identify who the person was,” Carroll said. “It certainly met the allegation matrix and should’ve resulted in a call where somebody went to the hospital to check.”
Carroll says Evans did do a good job prior to this situation.
The internal investigation in this case continues.