DCF subcontractor accused of falsifying records

Last Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017, 6:11 PM EDT

A subcontractor of the Florida Department of Children and Families is accused of falsifying a report related to a child neglect investigation, authorities said Monday.

  • DCF subcontractor accused of falsifying records in Kissimmee
  • Vanessa Arias, 38, charged with falsification of records
  • Arias worked for Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Monday arrested Vanessa Arias, 38, of Kissimmee, on charges of official misconduct and falsification of records.

Arias is a former employee with Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, a subcontractor of DCF. She was assigned as a caseworker.

During an investigation, FDLE agents found that Arias documented she had visited a home in Kissimmee on Jan. 8, 2015, to check on the welfare of several children. She reported the children were "free from any visible signs of abuse/neglect with all their basic needs being met at this time," according to an FDLE news release.

About a week later, officers with the Kissimmee Police Department went to the home regarding a report of child neglect. It was later determined that Arias had falsified her report and had not returned more than a dozen phone calls from two of the children in the home, the agency said.

"This is a sad case of vulnerable children reaching out to someone in a position to help them, but instead, they were ignored," said Danny Banks, special agent in charge from FDLE's Orlando region. "Thankfully, law enforcement was called and an investigation was launched."