MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Early Sunday morning, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families, 14-year-old Naika Venant logged into Facebook and streamed her suicide while at a foster home in Miami Gardens.
Naika’s biological mom, Gina Alexis, spoke about her daughter’s death.
“I am sick and devastated by this tragedy,” Alexis said. “I trusted Florida’s foster care people to care for my baby, instead she killed herself on Facebook.”
Attorney Howard Talenfeld is representing Gina Alexis.
He said Naika was first removed from her mother’s care at the age of 7 over allegations of corporal punishment.
Talenfeld said Naika was then abused in foster care.
“It was determined that Naika was sexually abused by a 14-year-old foster boy while in care, while she was 7 years old,” Talenfled said.
Talenfeld said Naika was Baker Acted and determined to be in need of significant mental health counseling that Talenfeld says she never got.
“She did not receive the level and quality of care that she needed,” Talenfeld said. “She told the world. She spoke to the world in the way she left this world about the terrible failures in our foster care system.”
Talenfeld said Naika was returned to her mother’s care in 2014, but two years later, when her mother tried to discipline her daughter, Naika ran away and wound up in foster care again.
Talenfeld said Naika was in at least 10 different foster home placements since returning to DCF care in April 2016.
Then on Sunday this child ended her life in a very public way.
DCF’s Secretary Mike Carroll sent CBS4 News a statement:
“We are absolutely horrified and devastated by the news of this young girl’s death. We will do everything we can to support this family and all those who cared for her as they begin to heal from this tragedy. We will conduct a comprehensive, multidisciplinary special review to examine this child’s history and the circumstances related to serving the child.”
The Miami Gardens Police Department is investigating the case.
Alexis wants answers and says pictures of her daughter show the thing her daughter loved the most.
“She loved to smile,” Alexis said.
Talenfeld said they have not filed a lawsuit yet but they are investigating the circumstances of Naika’s death.
Talenfeld also pointed to a recent federal audit released earlier this month that he says shows Florida’s child welfare system needs serious improvement as further proof of a broken child welfare system.