Group Will Review Punishments at Religious Homes

By: AP
By: AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The executive director of a Florida organization that oversees religious group homes for children says he expects its board to strengthen restrictions on corporal punishment, isolation and shackling in response to a newspaper investigation.

The Tampa Bay Times found nearly a dozen religious homes for children that faced serious complaints about disciplinary tactics that were physically and emotionally abusive.

The newspaper found that some homes stayed open even after the state found evidence of abuse.

The Legislature nearly 30 years ago eliminated state oversight of children's homes that claim government rules hamper their religious practices. Some are legally regulated by the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies. Others operate with no legal accreditation.

The FACCCA's executive director says the private nonprofit group monitors homes for abusive practices.

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