Suspect fell through the cracks

 

In Fred Grimm's Dec. 8 column, ‘ Doomed’ to repeat sins of a father, he exposed the cracks in all the state's systems of care that ultimately result in tragic losses for everyone.

The horrific murder of Aaron Vu could have been prevented if the accused 19-year-old, Anthawn Ragan, had been adequately served by the various systems that he has been involved with since he was a child.

Diagnosed at 9 with a mental-health disability, Ragan clearly did not receive adequate treatment from state Department of Children & Families nor did his mother learn about his disability and how to parent a special-needs child, which led to his crime spree from 9 to 13.

At that point, Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice dropped the treatment/services ball, only to warehouse him until he was 17 and then release him as he was about to become an adult with compounded, untreated mental and behavioral problems that left the public unsafe.

The advancement of effective mental-health services is unparalleled in history with a bounty of evidence for treatment proven to help children and parents manage psychiatric and behavioral problems.

But they are not funded by our governor’s budget. So Florida will continue to pass along more youth like Ragan to the better-funded Department of Corrections.

But the heartbreaking cost of life is the price that is just too high to pay.

Barbara Byrne, Miami

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