“This is another example of the incompetence and lack of professionalism DCF exhibits,” Kubiliun added.
Duray Smith, who was fired shortly after Shani Smith resigned, had failed to tell his bosses, as agency rules require, that he had been moonlighting as a substitute teacher — sometimes on the same days he supervised abuse investigators.
A DCF spokesman said Tuesday that every DCF abuse investigator has achieved at least “some level of certification.” Lisette Valdes-Valle said Shani Smith had been working with a supervisor to complete her requirements. “Had the process continued,” Valdes-Valle said, “it would have been completed within the next few weeks as she only needed six hours.”
“Certification is something DCF takes very seriously for our CPIs. The process begins the day the person is hired,” said Pete Digre, DCF’s assistant secretary for operations. “I am confident that all of our CPIs get properly registered when hired and enter into a program to complete the required certification process to get certified within their first year. This is something that is tracked by a point person in each of our regional offices. I am aware of no exceptions to the rule.”
Whitney Ray, an agency spokesman, said certification “isn’t like a license to practice law or medicine. It’s ongoing. Our CPIs continue their education throughout their careers.”
The issue of credentials arose in late May when the certification director of the Florida Certification Board, alerted DCF that Shani Smith lacked required credentials. This was after her name was published following the death of Bryan. “We have searched our database and hard copy records and do not have any record of her applying for certification,” Peloquin wrote.
Since Smith had first been given a caseload of abuse and neglect reports two years ago, she had never completed the necessary process, Peloquin wrote. “On the good side, [Smith] completed the training and passed the written test. On the bad side, she has been on the job for well over two years without earning any kind of certification.”