Department of Children and Families

Innocents Lost Town Hall
3:18 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Former DCF Admin: System Suffers From Overload And Underfunding

A Miami Herald investigation found that 477 children had died in the past six years due to abuse or neglect, despite warnings to DCF about their situation.
Credit MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Join the Miami Herald and WLRN-Miami Herald News for a town hall on how to fix the child welfare system at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17 at the Doral headquarters of the Herald. Learn more at MiamiHerald.com.

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The Florida Roundup
3:59 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

After 477 Children's Deaths In Florida, What Have We Learned?

Credit Emily Michot / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

 

In its Innocents Lost series, the Miami Herald painstakingly details how 477 children were killed over a period of six years--despite documented warnings to the state Department of Children and Families. Now, leaders in Tallahassee are calling for child welfare reforms.

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Politics
10:46 am
Fri March 21, 2014

The End Of FCAT

This spring, students will be taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for the last time. We look at what's ahead.  

Leaders in Tallahassee call child welfare reforms a priority for this legislative session after a Miami Herald investigation into the Department of Children and Families.  

El Salvador has a new president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former guerilla. Washington worries the new leader could move closer to Venezuela.

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The Florida Roundup
7:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

DCF, Shakespeare And The Lieutenant Governor

“What’s important is to have a great lieutenant governor,” Governor Scott said at a press conference announcing the appointment of Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera as lieutenant governor. But, Scott added, “I love the fact he’s Hispanic.”
Credit WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

On The Florida Roundup: After a nine-month vacancy, Gov. Rick Scott picks a new lieutenant governor.  Miami-Dade property appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera becomes the first Hispanic to hold the position.   

The governor’s other announcement this week was a $40 million increase for the Department of Children and Families and child abuse investigations, after the deaths of dozens of children who had contact with the agency. But is money the issue? Or the constant turnover in who leads DCF, which still has an interim secretary?

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News
2:30 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Florida Senate Panel Wants To Stop 'Rehoming' Of Children

The term "rehoming" used to refer to pet adoption. Now it has a darker meaning.
Credit littlebluecottage/flickr

A Florida Senate committee has approved a bill cracking down on parents who illegally put their children up for adoption.

The practice often involves children who were adopted from other countries.

It's called "rehoming," and it puts kids into new families -- for free. The kids are typically offered for adoption on the Internet by parents who just don’t want them anymore.

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Topical Currents
1:00 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Advancing The Rights Of At-Risk Children

"ALL I DID WAS TURN 18" via Florida's Children First Facebook
www.facebook.com/FloridasChildrenFirst

09/05/13 - Thursday's Topical Currents begins with attorney Howard Talenfeld.  He specializes in children’s and elderly rights, and is the founding President of Florida’s Children First, an advocacy group which monitors the treatment of Florida’s at-risk children and the delinquency system. And more.  Linda Gassenheimer’s Food & Dining with TV’s Anne Burrell, the host of “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.” That’s Topical Currents Thursday at 1pm on WLRN-HD1, rebroadcast at 7pm on WLRN-HD2.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Could Florida's DCF Have Prevented These Children's Deaths?

The recent deaths of so many children who had had contact with DCF has brought renewed scrutiny on a troubled agency: (clockwise from the top left, name, followed by their age at death, if known) Dontrell Melvin, unknown; Antwan Hope, 4; Dakota Stiles, 3; Ezra Raphael, 2; Aliyah Branum, 2; Jayden Morales, 2; Jewel Howard, 3; Cherish Perrywinkle, 8; and Christian Byrd, 2.

 

    

A Miami Herald investigation uncovers another 16 children who died in recent months even though their families were involved with the Department of Children and Families.  

"Is anybody here not outraged?" demanded one foster parent at a recent town hall, where a group of lawmakers heard from the public and received blame as well. 

Also, in just two months, Floridians are supposed to be able to shop for health insurance as part of Obamacare. But Florida Governor Rick Scott is now worried about the privacy of patient information.

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Social Welfare
12:30 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Florida Deaths Raise Questions About Child Welfare System

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 12:26 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee, Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we talk with actor Ziyi Zhang about her latest film "The Grandmaster," and women in kung fu. That's in a moment. But we start our program today in Florida. At least 20 children who were on the radar of child protective services have died there since April, that's according to an investigation by the Miami Herald. And the question of course is, why and how do we stop more deaths from occurring?

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Politics
4:33 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Town Hall On Child Deaths: 'Is Anbody Here Not Outraged?'

Department of Children and Families interim Secretary Esther Jacobo (middle, speaking) has previously said she has a demoralized workforce.
Credit Emily Michot / Miami Herald Staff

With lawmakers from Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties on hand, hundreds of people turned out Tuesday night for a town-hall meeting about an epidemic of deaths in recent months that has rocked the state's child-welfare system.

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Social Welfare
4:23 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

At DCF, An Untold Epidemic Of Abuse, Neglect And Death

Esther Jacobo, the interim secretary of the Department of Children & Families, said she has ordered a review of child fatalities caused by abuse and neglect.
Credit Marsha Halper / Miami Herald file

On the day before she died, Jewel Re’nee Howard sat on the porch, in her grandmother’s lap, having her hair twisted into ponytails made pretty with pink and purple beads. She played outside the home with neighborhood children, ate noodles, talked and giggled, as she had so many days before, about her dream of becoming a princess.

Less than 15 hours later, Jewel was dead — her liver torn and mangled, ribs crushed, her tiny body bruised and bleeding internally.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Can Florida's Department Of Children And Families Be Fixed?

The federal government's lawsuit says Florida has about 200 disabled children who are in nursing homes but could be cared for in the community or at home.
Credit Joanna C Dobson / Creative Commons/Flickr
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Department of Children and Families
7:43 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Timeline Of Deaths Leading Up To DCF Leader's Resignation

Nubia Barahona, 10, of Kendall is found in a black garbage bag in the back of her adoptive father's pickup truck. The state had approved her adoption and then overlooked reports of abuse.
Miami Herald

David Wilkins, Florida's top child welfare and social services administrator resigned July 18 amid an escalating scandal over the recent deaths of four small children who had a history of involvement with child-abuse investigators.

Read more of the original Tampa Bay Times article here

TIMELINE: DCF DEATH CASES

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Social Welfare
5:57 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Wilkins Steps Down As DCF Secretary, Scott Taps Jacobo Interim

David Wilkins
Credit Miami Herald

After weeks under fire following the deaths of four children, David Wilkins on Thursday abruptly resigned as secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement that Wilkins had stepped down "to pursue opportunities in the private sector and to provide more attention to his foundation." 

Scott also tapped as interim secretary Esther Jacobo, the regional managing director for DCF's southern region, which serves Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. 

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News
7:00 am
Tue January 29, 2013

State Launches Public Awareness Campaign For Child Abuse Reporting Law

Lauren Book was a sex abuse victim who now advocates for child abuse prevention.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

The toughest child abuse reporting law in the nation went into effect in Florida last October, and the state has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the legal obligation to report suspected abuse.

The new law was introduced in response to the scandal at Penn State University.  Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of molesting children years after the abuse was discovered by staffers.

If a similar situation happens in Florida, the institution could now be fined a million dollars for each person who failed to report the abuse.

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