Florida House Looks To Bolster Child Welfare

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There's a new push to better protect children from abuse and neglect.

A Florida House committee discussed a wide ranging measure for that purpose Tuesday.

The hearing comes just two days after a Miami Herald report stating the death of children in state custody from abuse and neglect has been badly under-reported to lawmakers.

It's been a long standing issue.

In 2011 for example, 10 year old Nubia Barahona was found dead after she was starved, beaten, imprisoned and tortured.

The case led to firings and resignations from the Department of Children and Families entrusted with her care.

Three years later, the state has yet to send the case to Florida's Child Abuse Death Review Committee.

There were also numerous reports of child deaths last year.

Lawmakers want it to stop.

"Ultimately, I think it's just trying to get whatever money that needs to be gotten to those agencies and then give them other resources that they need in terms of personnel, training or whatever it is to help them do the best job they can," said State Representative Pat Rooney of West Palm Beach.

Both the House and Senate have spent months working on this issue after last year's reports of children in state custody dying of abuse and neglect.

Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz say the protection of Florida's children is one of their top priorities this session.

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