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NAACP to file complaint alleging discrimination in Lee Co foster case

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NAACP to file complaint alleging discrimination in Lee Co foster case

By Gabrielle Sarann. CREATED May 16, 2014

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The NAACP has announced it will file a complaint with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) against the southwest Florida agencies it contracts with. This after a white child living with a black foster mom may be transferred to a white family. The NAACP is alleging discrimination.  

The NAACP is alleging that the foster system is railroading this mom. James Muwakkil, the branch president of the Lee County chapter, says she's not getting the same opportunities as other foster families and that agency employees should be held responsible.

Muwakkil is going to the defense of Teresa Robinson, a black woman and the director of a Dunbar preschool, who wants to adopt the white child she's been fostering for eight months. But the Children's Network of Southwest Florida, the agency contracted by DCF, wants to remove the girl.

"They are breaking the law and conspiring against Ms. Robinson to take that child for no other reason than the foster home they want to put that child in is white," believes Muwakkil.

At issue is whether Robinson's six-year-old foster child is better off with her eight-year old sister. DCF says it's best for the girls to be together. But it wants to place them with the white family caring for the older girl.

"Ms. Robinson deserves an opportunity to raise both of those girls," added Muwakkil.

But after raising the question with the foster agency, Robinson claims she was never considered.

Robinson explained that she asked the agency employee, "Are you saying because I'm black?' She said the employee's response was, "Well, Ms. Robinson, in some cases culture is considered."

But Robinson says there's more to it. She sent pictures to the foster agency after trips to the emergency room. They show bites and bruises the child got while visiting her sister. 

"I've seen the bruises and I'm wondering what is DCF thinking," said Muwakkil.

Fox 4 stopped by Robinson's house. Her mom showed us the little girl's room, including her bed, toys and the more than 30 shoes Robinson has bought the child since she moved in.

"What would you like to see happen," Fox 4 asked Muwakkil. "Justice," he replied.

The NAACP complaint will be filed next week. Fox 4 reached out to the white family caring for the little girl's older sister. We asked the father if he wanted to respond to this story. He said he'd get back to us but we haven't heard back yet.

 

 

Gabrielle Sarann

Gabrielle Sarann

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Gabrielle is a reporter for FOX 4.