Warning after parents locked up for tying up daughter

DCF, therapist weigh in on abuse warning signs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police locked up the little girl's mother, Tameka Williams, and her boyfriend, Bacarius Burt, for abuse Wednesday.

According to the arrest report, in one instance the boyfriend accused the mother saying she, "had tied up the victim at least 15 times in the past but that he never reported the incidents because he didn't want to get in trouble."

If that's true, Burt will be in more trouble because the The Department of Children and Families told Channel 4 people are legally required to report abuse.

"That is state law," said DCF's Spokesman, John Harrell. "The law requires you report abuse and neglect to us at DCF so that we can investigate this case."

According to the report investigators said there was another child inside the home with signs of abuse in a different form. If police find there had been ongoing abuse it raises the question of what's the community responsibility to children who don't have a voice?  Audrey Dearborn is a Mental Health Therapist who says there are signs to look for if you worry a child is being abused.

"You might look for a change in behavior," said Dearborn.  "Starting to soil their clothes or acting boisterous where they were quiet to denote that something was going on in the family." Dearborn said one thing to look for is if the child clutches people constantly. Either the child clutches someone else to feel safe or clutches the abuser.

"The clutching behavior.  I have seen it where they feel if I hold tight enough to you you won't hit me," said Dearborn.

The DCF also wants parents to know if they're struggling with discipline there are options.

"What we recommend is they call the Florida parenting help line," said Harrell. "You just never want to injure your child."

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