By: Matt Horn
November 5, 2013
State lawmakers are demanding answers from the Department of Children and Families after the deaths of 25 children. Lawmakers say DCF didn’t have answers.
For three hours Tuesday morning lawmakers demanded answers on how to keep Florida’s children from troubled homes safe.
“The purpose of the meeting is that we’re very upset about all of these deaths,” said Senator Nancy Detert. “We want to know what the problem is.”
So far this year 25 children have died under state supervision.
“This is a top priority for the governor and obviously DCF in making sure children are safe,” said Esther Jacobo.
Department of Children and Families Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo says the office has been working to improve her agencies supervision.
“What I can assure everyone is that we are working toward making the system better. That we are putting in safeguards,” she said.
But, Senator Eleanor Sobel says lawmakers are unsure of what is being done… DCF had few answers during Tuesday’s meeting.
“I expected her to gather some of that information and funnel it down and have some answers for us and guidance for us today and I wasn’t hearing it,” said Sobel.
“I’m very confident that with the kind of information that we now have and with the kind of analysis we are going to get what we need,” said Jacobo.
An October report reviewed the deaths of children under DCF’s watch. Looking for what went wrong and why. Lawmakers say they will go through the information to decide what needs fixing.
No legislation is likely to be proposed until early next year.
Associated Press Release
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A scathing new report is critical of the state's efforts to prevent child abuse deaths across Florida.
The Department of Children and Families on Tuesday released a report prepared by a private non-profit organization.
Interim DCF Secretary Esther Jacobo asked for the review after news reports revealed that several children died from abuse despite previous involvement by authorities.
The report by Casey Family Programs found that children had died from asphyxia, drowning, and physical abuse. The report found that investigators did not look at other family problems such as domestic violence or drug abuse that should have warned them that a child was in danger.
Jacobo said the agency was undertaking a series of steps in response to the report. But some state legislators called the rash of deaths "outrageous."