Jacksonville family said mental health, behavioral issues left out in negligent adoption case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A jury has awarded $13.5 million to a Jacksonville family, after finding the Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) liable in a negligent adoption case.


The Jacksonville family said they weren’t told their adopted son had significant mental health and behavioral issues. A Duval County jury found that the non-profit failed to disclose key information to the new parents, on Tuesday, including medical history showing he was previously baker acted for threatening to hurt himself and others.

“They [JFCS] had the information, and they failed to disclose it, and the failure to do that was reckless,” Justin Grosz said. He an attorney for Justice For Kids, representing the family.

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We are not naming the family members involved because of the sensitivity surrounding this case.

Grosz said the parents have three other young girls under the age of five at home. The young boy, who is now fourteen, was adopted in 2017 through Jewish Family and Community Services. His adoptive family was aware he had autism and ADHD.

“The reality was he had previously been diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, and had been involuntarily hospitalized because he had been deemed a danger to himself and others,” Grosz said.

The family later found out there were other issues once he started making threats to himself and others at home, according to Grosz.

“There was a period of time where his behavior started to escalate,” Grosz said. “When he was living at home, it progressed from self-harm to threats of harm to the father, and at one point they brought him to a hospital.”

When they got to the hospital, hospital staff stated he was committed back in 2016.

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“They had no idea,” Grosz said. The suit was filed in 2021 and the trial came to a close Dec 12.

The boy was removed from the home four years ago, and is getting the help he needs.

“He’s getting help. For the better part of the last four years he’s been in two different residential treatment settings, because his needs are really significant and extraordinary,” Grosz said. “He really needs 24-hour supervision.”

We reached out to Jewish Family and Community Services for comment and received this statement:

“Unfortunately, we’re very limited now in what we can say about this lawsuit as the legal case is far from over. Our focus is on the child involved and his adoptive family. Florida’s child welfare system has been working with this family for years to help heal the impacts of the trauma from abuse that happened before we helped with the adoption in 2017. For more than 60 years, we have been helping children and families with every stage of the adoption process – from aiding birth mothers to matching adoptive parents with children. We look forward to continuing that vital mission in this community.”

—  Jewish Family and Community spokesperson

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