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Group Home for Boys Surrenders License

The Florida Department of Children and Families had investigated reports about the Harbinger House in New Port Richey, which is run by a Clearwater nonprofit.

Harbinger House, a group home in New Port Richey for abused, neglected or abandoned boys, has given up a state-issued license, and the youths who were residing there have been moved elsewhere.

Investigators with the state Department of Children and Families had visited the home after licensing staff received reports that caused them to be concerned, according to Terri Durdaller, a regional spokeswoman for the department.

Investigators looked into the house “with unannounced visits and put them on a corrective action plan," she said Friday. "The owner chose to voluntarily give up their license.”

Information on the timeframe of the investigations, the day the license was given up and details of the concerns were not available.

Harbinger House served youths in foster care or going through dependency proceedings. It is run by Juvenile Services Program, a Clearwater-based nonprofit.

The program declined to comment to Patch.

In May, a 15-year-old boy from Harbinger House was accused of  and leading New Port Richey police on a vehicle chase. He crashed into an unoccupied business and was arrested.

About a week later, a 16-year-old Harbinger House resident was charged with grand theft auto, and two teenagers with him in a vehicle were charged with criminal trespass. The next day, three teenagers from Harbinger House were arrested and accused of auto burglary.

The New Port Richey Police Department  from Harbinger House between Oct. 1, 2010, and May 21, 2011. All but roughly 60 were missing person/runaway alerts. Harbinger House was required to call the police whenever a youth went missing.

The other calls included an aggravated assault, threats or harassment, theft, a few simple batteries, a property damage report and calls for information to police.

Juvenile Services Program’s executive director, Isabella Cox, told Patch on a previous occasion that Harbinger House was not a lockdown facility and that youths could sign in or out, depending on their age.

Stay with Patch for more information as it becomes available.

Asher Judah December 17, 2011 at 07:54 AM
Isabella Cox, is a graduate of Columbia Pacific University - if you are interested, look up the school - might be an interesting subject for you to question!
BKL December 26, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Well, gee. I told Child investigators about Harbinger house 4 years ago!! And I told the Child protection Agency about it. They had place my grandson there and he told me what was going on there. But nobody listened. A child protection agent went out and said all was fine. Quite different from what my grandson said he saw happening to some of the kids. We really need an investigation of the Child protection agents and agency, how they operate and how they get paid for each child placed into the system. Things are not what they seem in Child protection in Pinellas county. My grandson and my daughter (his mother) were completely destroyed by what they all did. It was all completely wrong and so damaging to the child. In my two years of researching it, I found many other terrible stories of hurt to the children by the system. Yes, I know they save many, but you need to see and know about the other side of the system. The greedy money side.

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