Volusia County foster care manager arrested on child neglect charges

Law enforcement say Deirdre Wade also failed to report abuse

Deirdre Wade was the case manager for a minor child living in a non-relative placement. (Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents took a foster care manager into custody after she didn’t report child abuse and contributed to the neglect of a minor, according to authorities.

Records show the victim was removed from her home in May 2019 due to abuse and was placed in foster care by Deidre Wade, who was her case manager.

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A few months later, in August 2019, the girl told Wade that the adult son of her foster parents drugged her and raped her, causing her to get pregnant, according to the FDLE investigative report.

Agents said the victim told Wade after the rape that she was planning to run away and live with an adult friend who was not cleared for foster care, but Wade didn’t report that or the rape at the time.

On Oct. 3, 2019, one day after Wade reported the rape allegation, the girl was located when she showed up for a doctor’s appointment and she was taken out of the system as a missing child, records show.

According to the report, Wade was supposed to drive the girl to be placed in another foster home and on the way, they stopped at a gas station and the girl got an Uber to drive her from Palm Coast to an apartment complex in Jacksonville.

Agents said Wade knew the girl was going to run away when they stopped at the gas station and waited a day to report her as a missing child.

A corporal from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office went to Jacksonville in January but couldn’t locate the girl.

Records show on April 29, the girl gave birth and made arrangements to have someone adopt the baby.

Agents said Wade and a coworker were at an attorney’s office on May 1 as the girl was turning over the baby and once that process was completed, the girl ran away from the office.

She was located on June 9 and told authorities that Wade and the other caseworker knew that she was going to run away and that during the periods when she was reported as missing, she was in regular contact with Wade, according to the report.

She said Wade had to “play it off” when the girl said she wasn’t leaving with Wade from the lawyer’s office, records show. She also said she had to “waddle” away because she couldn’t run after giving birth.

When asked what Wade’s motive was in all of this, the girl said Wade didn’t want to do the work to get her emancipated, authorities said.

After further investigation, FDLE agents said Wade was complicit at numerous levels, including failing to file and update timely missing child reports of the child under her care and lying to investigators.

Wade was booked Tuesday into the Volusia County Jail on charges of failing to report child abuse, abandonment, providing false information to law enforcement and neglect of a child. She has since paid bond.

This case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 7th Judicial Circuit, according to FDLE.