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Changes Considered By Dept. Of Children And Family Services After Onnika Fisher Abduction


In the wake of the abduction of Onnika Fisher changes are possible in the way parents can visit their children while they are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.Jewish Family Services, where Fisher was taken by her mother on Friday, has already changed policy.

Witnesses said 39-year-old Charity Chatman shoved her daughter into the back seat of a car and drove off after a DCF supervised visit.

Chatman told her caseworker she had some Christmas presents for Onnika in the car.

Jewish Family Services now says parents with children in DCF custody must remain in the building while visiting and can't enter the parking lot with their children.

DCF Spokesman John Harrell said such a change in policy is up to the service provider. He said there hasn’t been any decision to make a similar change statewide.

"Keep in mind these visits that happen at visitation centers you have drivers from these agencies who drive the children to these centers," he said. "So sometimes as an endearing factor you may have these parents buckling the children in to the car seat while the driver gets ready to take them back."     

Chatman was arrested in Georgia Sunday night after being discovered by a witness at a traffic stop. She remains in the Houston County, Georgia jail.

Fisher has been returned to Jacksonville and is back in the custody of the DCF.  

You can follow Kevin Meerschaert on Twitter @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.