Hillsborough Kids Inc Child Welfare Caseworker Logged Visits He Didn't Make

TAMPA - A child welfare caseworker was arrested this morning and charged with 33 counts of falsifying records, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Andrew Joseph, 36, of Riverview, said he conducted face-to-face interviews for Youth and Family Alternatives, a subcontractor providing case management services, according Hillsborough Kids Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Rainey.

Hillsborough Kids is a contractor for the state Department of Children & Families. Youth and Family Alternatives is a subcontractor for Hillsborough Kids, Rainey said.

Joseph falsely claimed that he conducted face-to-face interviews with children and foster parents, FDLE spokeswoman Trina Reddick said.

The investigation was sparked after Youth and Family Alternatives noticed some irregularities, Rainey said.

"As soon as it was discovered, Youth and Family Alternatives immediately notified the DCF inspector general's office," Rainey said.

Joseph, he said, had about 20 cases.

Staff and supervisors from Youth and Family Alternatives, with help from Hillsborough Kids, immediately went to see the clients to ensure that safety was not compromised, Rainey said.

There may be other workers arrested soon, Rainey said.

"We can't tolerate putting children at risk," he said. "We took every measure to ensure that would not happen. There are tons of checks-and-balances in place. This was caught, though it did happen."

Officials from Youth and Family Alternatives did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

Joseph was arrested at his 13716 Gentle Woods Ave. home this morning, Geraghty said.

He was being held at Orient Road Jail. Bail was set at $25,000, according to jail records.