MIAMI (AP) -- May 26, 2012
Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins says his agency will now allow the state child death review team to review all child deaths.
Wilkins reversed the longstanding and controversial practice where the team was only able to review a fraction of child deaths. Experts worried the policy made it easy to manipulate the numbers to make it appear there were fewer child deaths. The number of child abuse deaths dropped from 197 to 136 between 2009 and 2010.
There were 2,282 child deaths in Florida in 2010, but the state team was only allowed to review a fraction of those cases because only 136 were categorized as child abuse.
Decisions about whether to categorize a death as child abuse vary widely across the state.