Judge to family of dead boy: 'The system has failed you'
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A judge who once signed off on the Department of Children and Families' efforts to put a 4-year-old boy back in the custody of his mother is now questioning them about their decision after the child was found dead.
Antwon Hope Jr. was found deceased inside his Coral Springs apartment he had shared with his mother Destene Simmons, located along the 9000 block of Northwest 28th Drive, earlier this week.
Friday morning, Broward County Judge Elizabeth Scherer disputed that she signed off on DCF efforts to release Hope back to his mother, who has a history of mental illness.
Hope's father was also in court as well as his grandmother, who broke down in tears as she stood before Judge Scherer and blamed DCF.
Judge Scherer also had strong words for DCF, saying Simmons had not been compliant with a court order from February to June, and she missed appointments.
DCF said they were unaware of Simmons' mental condition.
Judge Scherer went on to say that the system failed the child. "The court's order was not followed, and unfortunately, at this point, there is nothing that I can do to make things right for this child and his family," she said. "I will say to the family, for what it's worth, I am deeply sorry for your loss. The system has failed you, and I'm sorry."
On separate note, the judge later in the day ordered that the mother's family and the child's father decide together on burial arrangements.
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