Florida Schools Face Million Dollar Fine if Abuse Goes Unreported

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL -- June 12, 2012 --

The Penn State scandal brought down a legendary coach, the University president, and more.

"There's no indication whatsoever that any big-time athletic program here in Florida has ignored abuses like those that occurred at Penn State. But state lawmakers aren't taking any chances.
House Bill 1355 signed by the Governor imposes a one million dollar fine on schools that look the other way. The legislation was pushed by a father-daughter duo.

"That sends a message that we're not going to let a Penn State, a Syracuse, a Citadel circumstance happen here."
Daughter Lauren Book was abused for years by her Nanny. She's turned that experience into a crusade--criss-crossing the state for children."

"My hope is that when somebody suspects an abuse, that they make a report; that they make a report and that children are kept safe; and that once that report is made, it triggers an investigation so that children are not left in peril."
The legislation is expected to increase the number of calls to the child abuse hot line by 40 thousand a year. The increase is due to an expansion of who is required to report.

Previously, the hot line only took calls about care givers who were suspected of hurting their charges. Now it will take calls about anyone.

The new requirements and penalties take effect October First. The Department and Children and Families was given money to hire forty additional call specialists to handle the increased number of reports.

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