COPYRIGHT 2000 The Palm Beach Post
Jim Reeder, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
PORT ST. LUCIE -- Victory Children's Home could lose its license as a shelter for abused and neglected children if a complaint from the state Department of Children and Families is upheld.
District 15 Administrator Vern Melvin is reviewing his staff's recommendation to revoke Victory's license because of alleged rules violations in its dealings with two boys at the shelter on Biltmore Street.
"Melvin said he'll delay the action for 10 days while he reviews the complaint," said Dr. Alan Weierman, president of Victory Children's Home. "That's all I've asked, is for someone with logic and common sense to look at it."
Melvin did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday.
Melvin's staff urged in a Nov. 16 complaint that Victory's state license be revoked because it abandoned a 17-year-old boy in the parking lot of another shelter and failed to protect residents from an 11-year-old the department said is a danger to others.
Weierman instructed a staff member to leave the 17-year-old in the parking lot of Wave Crest, a shelter operated by the Children's Home Society, according to the state's complaint.
Weierman denied giving such instructions but said Wave Crest would not accept the boy if its staff knew he had threatened Victory's personnel.
"He was threatening my staff and refused to follow the rules," Weierman said. "We had to get him out of here. They said we failed to do a prerelease plan."
Weierman said the 11-year-old attempted to involve another boy and two girls in a sex game of "truth or dare" in January.
Six months later, state officials asked Weierman to sign a "family safety agreement" calling for close supervision and other steps to ensure sexual activity wasn't repeated.
State officials said the boy should have a bedroom separate from other children.
"If the child is a danger to others, why did they wait six months?" Weierman said. "There have been no other complaints about him."
He said staff members check on the boy's activities every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes after bedtime.
Victory Children's Home moved to Biltmore Street in 1993 after St. Lucie County evicted it from a building on Selvitz Road because it lacked a state license.
Weierman said no license was needed because the home was affiliated with a religious organization.
But Weierman obtained a state license about a year ago, and six of 12 children there are under state supervision.
Those children would be removed and no more state money would be paid if the license was
History littered with abuse and shady behavior.