There’s a racially-charged fight in southwest Florida. A foster mother is fighting the system to keep caring for the little girl in her home. The NAACP is backing the foster mom, who’s black. The little girl is white.
Teresa Robinson started looking after the little girl eight months ago. Since then, she says, the child has adjusted so well. She says she’s polite, affectionate and her grades have gone up. Robinson said through tears that her fight to keep the child is far from over.
Robinson isn’t backing down about keeping her foster child, a six-year-old girl.
“I’m not going to be quiet about it,” she said.
The Dunbar Christian Preschool director claims the Department of Children and Families (DCF) wants to transfer the child to the same home as her eight-year-old sister.
“[It's difficult being] treated like trash, to be judged because you have great concerns, when your child goes to another home and continues to get bit up,” explained Robinson.
She sent pictures to the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, the agency contracted under DCF. They show bites and bruises the girl got while visiting her sister.
“I went to the ER twice,” Robinson said. “[She] continued to complain about itching and something biting her in the bed.”
DCF says it’s best to pair siblings together. Robinson says the agency told her the girl would have a “familiar connection” that way.
“I said are you saying [this is] because I’m black?,” she told an agency worker. “She said, ‘well Ms. Robinson, in some cases, culture is considered’.”
Robinson would love both girls but believes she was never considered. Now the thought of losing her foster daughter is too painful to bear.
“The anxiety is overwhelming,” said Robinson.
With Robinson’s mother beside her, they’re not giving up as the battle continues for this sweet little girl.
“It’s a lot that she would miss out, being removed from her, because she takes care of her like she birthed her herself,” said Hope Jackson-Robinson, Teresa’s mom.
The CEO of the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, Nadereh Salim, wouldn’t speak specifically about this case, citing privacy, but she released the following general comments:
“At the end of the day, the consideration is not because of the caregiver,” said Salim. “It’s what is in the child’s best interest. It does not mean that the other foster home is less skilled, or equipped or better or worse, it’s a matter of in that particular case, which home better meets the needs of the sibling.”