DCF employee charged with child neglect

Reporter: Allison Bybee

Her job is to protect abused children. Now, a Department of Children and Families worker is charged with child neglect after she's arrested for drinking and driving.

Kostiuk has worked for the Department of Children and Families Treasure Coast District since September of last year as a child protective investigator. Now, her job is in jeopardy. "Given the seriousness of the allegations and the information we have in front of us, we are moving to terminate her probationary employment," says Cherri Sheffer, DCF.

This weekend, Collier County sheriff's deputies say Kostiuk ran a red light coming off Interstate 75 and hit another driver. All the while, she had her 3-year-old son in the car.

When the Florida Highway Patrol arrived, officers noticed Kostiuk smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. They tried to give her a field sobriety test. But, they say, she refused to finish it and refused a blood test.

DCF policy is if you get in trouble, you must contact your supervisor. Kostiuk never did that. Her office found out from our sister station in Fort Myers. "They're given all of the operating procedures. One of which is if you are arrested, you need to notifiy us as soon as possible."

Reporter asks, "Did she do that?"

"She did not do that."

We went to Kostiuk's current home in Palm City. Her mother tells us her daughter is not back yet from the West Coast, but claims her daughter didn't have anything to drink.

And, Kostiuk's office says, even though she was a good employee and passed all her background checks, DCF has all employees on a one year probation. "It's an important position. It's a tough position, and people to take on this sort of challenge need to be prepared to do it."

According to this arrest report, the 3 year old was picked up by his father.

A DCF spokeswoman says all of her cases she was working on will be reviewed.