Although this site highlights Ashleigh Abbott, it speaks to all of Florida's children caught in DCF's insidious web.
Until recently, I had little idea about the going-ons of Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF). My children are grown; a son in college; a daughter who graduated FSU and is now a nurse. I originally registered this site name, and ElderAssistance for her as she thought she would work with the elderly. She opted for the ER room instead.

But my friend, Paul Scott Abbott, knew things about the state agency that I did not. His child had been illegally seized by Florida's DCF. He had called them when his daughter returned with a bruised lip after a visitation with her mom. Five weeks later, in April of 1998, she was hauled away and has been a prisoner in an emergency shelter ever since. That was 26 months ago.

Paul and I met twelve years ago via professional and writing circles. I remember when his former wife was pregnant, and having second thoughts about carrying the baby. She was committed to a hospital when she tried to commit suicide by plunging a knife into her belly while pregnant with Ashleigh. Paul and I and others from the Miami Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association were in Naples attending a statewide conference. Immediately after receiving his accreditation award, he raced home, back to Hollywood, Florida.

Ashleigh, 2, and her dad shortly before the state seized her in April 1998.

I have known Paul for many years and know how much he adores his daughter. I have witnessed the mounds of affection he showered upon her. I also know also that there are many others who have vouched for his integrity. Paul is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Now, many years later, he is working on his Master's in Seminary. He is a lay preacher at a local church and credits his faith in the Lord for keeping him going.

Over the years, many of Paul's supporters' have written letters on his behalf, myself included. The one below was sent more than a year ago.

1 April 1999

Governor Jeb Bush
The Capital
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Dear Governor Bush:

Despite today’s date of April 1, my reason for writing is no joke. It is quite serious and concerns real flesh and blood.

Several times on evening walks, you and I would ‘run’ into each other, you’d be walking your pooch and my husband and I would be out and about (he is tall and thin with a mustache, I’m chunky with turtle shell glasses).

Now, my attention focuses on a dear and loving parent, Paul Scott Abbott, and his young daughter, Ashleigh. In reviewing the attached letter written last April [1998], I am flabbergasted to realize that almost a year has passed and that an innocent child still remains incarcerated in a child care system away from her father, who loves her dearly.

I have known Paul for more than eleven years; I remember when his daughter was born. I am also witness to the love and care he showered on her. I am amazed that a haywire system is so out of control that a daughter and father remain separated, and that questions about Paul’s devotion remain. It is known that the child’s mother was ordered away from a son in a previous marriage, and that she has abused Ashleigh, too. There are also many other insidious acts of cruelty in the files.

PLEASE REVIEW THEM, meet with the father, and see for yourself.

I urge you to reunite Ashleigh with her father. Ashleigh has already lost one year of her life— age 3— a critical year in child development because she remains incarcerated by run-away system that has failed to meet its obligations. I cannot imagine this travesty continuing.

Your immediate attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Hope Marcus


We hope you will keep Ashleigh in your prayers, praying that she will safely return home. It appears a third Father's Day is coming up on which father and daughter will be apart for reasons that are political -- not legal, not moral, not ethical, but cruel and criminal.

Please make sure your voices heard by our elected reps, friends, the media, anyone who cares, and then some.

Our Governor's e-mail address is:

<> and/or <>

Florida Senate list can be found at:


Florida House of Representatives list can be found at:


Paul Scott: <>

Hope Marcus, site author: <>

Recent news: Dad to court: Remove child from shelter

(11 July, Miami Herald)

Foster sisters file second lawsuit vs. state

(4 July, Miami Herald,)

State, DCF slapped with federal suit

(15 June, Sun-Sentinel)

News: Take the Child and Run,

(New Times)

News: State is sued again, (Miami Herald)
Recent Internal Press Releases
Press Release of May 25, 2000
Press Release of May 15, 2000

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