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Ron DeSantis signs the law named after Jordan Belliveau.

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Grandmother of slain Jordan Belliveau sues child welfare agencies that ‘failed’ her grandson

She’s also suing the boy’s mother who was arrested after striking the boy on the head.

Jessica Belliveau, the grandmother of Jordan Belliveau, is suing two social services agencies over her grandson’s death.

Belliveau died from head trauma inflicted by his biological mother in September 2018. Child welfare workers missed several opportunities to protect the child whose death officials believe could have been avoided.

The lawsuit names Eckerd Youth Alternatives and Directions for Living. Eckerd provides child welfare services in Pinellas and Pasco counties under the Florida Department of Children and Families. Directions for Living works on child welfare services under a contract with Eckerd.

The lawsuit also names Belliveau’s mother, Charisse Stinson, is also named in the lawsuit. She’s currently in Pinellas County Jail under charges related to her son’s murder.

Jessica Belliveau claims in the lawsuit that her grandson might still be alive today had it not been for several missed signs and critical errors within Directions for Living.

The group removed Jordan from foster care and placed him with his mother, Stinson, despite evidence that the boy’s father was the more fit parent. Despite Stinson failing to complete court-ordered classes, Directions for Living did not remove Jordan from her custody. Jessica Belliveau and Jordan Belliveau Sr. both warned the agency of danger.

Jessica Belliveau filed a wrongful death suit against Stinson and both child welfare organizations on behalf of her grandson’s estate.

Jordan Belliveau was found dead in September of 2018 in a wooded area in Largo. Stinson at first reported her son missing, but later admitted to hitting the boy on the head, causing fatal head trauma.

Since then, Sen. Darryl Rouson and Rep. Chris Latvala fought to pass legislation in Jordan’s name, Jordan’s Law, implementing various child welfare protections including how to identify traumatic head injury in youth and better communication standards between any agency that takes part in the juvenile welfare process.

The legislation failed two years ago, but passed and was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis this year. Both Rouson and Latvala, in their advocacy for the bill, pointed to some of the similar points Jessical Belliveau makes in her lawsuit, including that the child welfare system failed to identify and act upon red flags that could have saved the young boy’s life.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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