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Florida officials take custody of child protection worker's kids

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - Florida child protection investigators took custody of six children from one of their co-workers whose house was raided by narcotics agents, authorities reported.

Agents described the house as in "deplorable condition" with roaches, flies and spiders on the walls and in the beds, and trash overflowing from garbage cans, according to a press release by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

Kysa Donawa, 41, was fired on Friday shortly before her arrest, said Kristi Gray, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Donawa and her husband Randy Donawa, 38, each were charged with production of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and six counts of child neglect.

Agents also found 26 marijuana plants, counterfeit money and a handgun at the home in Kissimmee, Florida, according to the sheriff's office.

Gray said Kysa Donawa had worked on-and-off for DCF since 2002 and had no disciplinary reports in her file.

Her application shows she became a certified child protective investigator for DCF in 2008. She returned to the agency in May and was still in training for her new job at the time of her arrest.

"We don't do home visits as part of our pre-employment screening," Gray said. "We wouldn't know what their home looks like."

Gray said Donawa's children, ages 8 to 12, are currently being cared for by relatives.

(Editing by Kevin Gray and Cynthia Osterman)