A report made public this week shows Florida’s Department of Children and Families “missed opportunities” to intervene and protect a child who ended up dying.
DCF Secretary Mike Carroll called Tayla Aleman’s death “senseless and avoidable.”
Tayla was a little more than 1-year-old when she died on April 1, 2016 at her home in Loxahatchee. Authorities have since arrested her parents Kristen Meyer and Alejandro Aleman after a grand jury indicted them on first degree murder and other charges.
Records show an investigator visited the Aleman home three times in the months prior to Tayla's death. The parents lived there with their ten children.
The just released report shows the investigator assigned to the case did not follow established protocols. “The documentation had many gaps in activity and lacked reconciliation of misleading or potentially false information presented by the family,” it reads.
Investigators noted many of the Aleman children, the oldest of which is 14, had speech delays. None went to school, at one point.
The report criticizes how the investigator handled the case, saying "information gathered was not reconciled or, if addressed, not followed up with to ensure concerns were corrected."
Neighbors aren’t surprised to find out DCF mishandled the case. They said they continued to see the parents neglect their children even after visits by DCF.
Records show Tayla weighed less seven pounds when she died. She weighed 9 pounds when she was born.
As a result of this case, DCF is giving investigators and supervisors more training. And supervisors will play a bigger role "to ensure all appropriate protective actions are being taken as quickly as possible."
DCF added leaders reprimanded the field staff involved in Tayla’s case. And it reviewed other open cases by those staff members to make sure no child was left at risk.
Meyer and Aleman remain in jail, both pleaded not guilty. Their other children are in DCF custody.
“We continue to mourn the loss of this child and our thoughts are with her family. Our top priority is the safety and emotional health of her siblings as we continue to care for them as they recover from this family tragedy. We’re also working with our partners in law enforcement to ensure those responsible for this senseless death are held accountable,” Carroll said in a statement.