• 9 Investigates delay in removing children from squalid home


    ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police report on conditions a home and the conditions of the children who lived there have raised questions about why it took the Florida Department of Children and Families so long to remove the children from the squalor.

    The report describes the home as having urine-soaked, bug-infested mattresses. It indicates there were no lights or air conditioning in the children's bedrooms.

    According to the report there was dog feces on floors and walls.  It says roaches, mold and rotting food all over the kitchen and refrigerator.

    According to police one of the only things that worked in the home was an electric can opener, which the children used to feed themselves. 

    The conditions were such that when Orange County Animal Control workers saw the home they removed the pets immediately.

    DCF officials said a caseworker from the department would have visited the home in the two weeks before the police report was written in March.

    Channel 9's Kathi Belich asked why the children weren't removed from the home earlier.

    DCF officials said it was the fifth time it had worked with the family over living conditions and they worked with the family the last time for about a month before conditions deteriorated to conditions described in the police report.

    Officials said DCF workers have to show judges the department has worked with parents in before asking to remove children.

    Court records show the children's mother, Yolander Lasane, described by police as five feet six inches tall and weighing 400 pounds, is living on Social Security income for a disability.

    Prosecutors said they dropped her five child neglect charges because they can't prove the neglect was willful and would have resulted in imminent serious physical harm because there is evidence she was making efforts despite her poverty

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