News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
June 13, 2012
Media Contact:
Bernardo Escobar


Commissioner Javier D. Souto pushes for background checks for tenants working with children on County-owned property

On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Miami-Dade’s Economic Development and Social Services Committee unanimously approved an ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Javier D. Souto that seeks to further protect children and the disabled on County property. The law would require any tenant offering services for children or the developmentally disabled to undergo a criminal background check. The item will be considered by the full Miami-Dade Commission at a later date to be decided for final approval.

Prior to a lease being granted, the County would have the authority to mandate the tenant and his/her principals that would be working on County-owned property to undergo the background check. The cost of these criminal background checks would be the responsibility of the proposed tenant, and would be paid up front to Miami-Dade County. The spouse, parents, and children of prospective tenants would also be eligible for a criminal background check under this ordinance.

Of the latter requirement, Commissioner Souto referred to the case of Frank Fuster, who was arrested with his wife for child molestation in the 1980s while they were running a daycare in Country Walk. “It would be horrible to encounter another case similar to the Fuster one in which a childcare facility was used by a family of predators to take advantage of children entrusted to their care,” said Commissioner Souto. “We have similar requirements for background checks in our park system thanks to the Shannon Melendi Act. Miami-Dade County should be able to provide the same protection on our own property when working with tenants.”

For more information, please contact Commissioner Souto’s office at 305-222-2116.