[UPDATE] Who Should Investigate Child Abuse Allegations?

By: AP
By: AP

[UPDATE] 3-14 3:25pm -- MIAMI (AP) --

The head of the state child welfare agency is overhauling the abuse hotline after a 10-year-old girl was found dead in her adoptive father's truck.

Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins said
Monday the girl's death represented a total failure by the child
welfare system.

He said a supervisor will monitor hotline calls in real time to
make sure they get the proper emergency response.

Wilkins said the agency will also recruit 80 child protective
investigators to lower caseloads.

DCF has been under fire for ignoring signs the girl and her
brother were being abused. Her body was found on Valentine's Day in
her adoptive father's truck. Her brother was also in the truck and
is recovering from serious burns. Their parents have been charged
in the death.


When a call came to the abuse hotline last month alleging 10-year-old twins were being bound and locked in the bathroom by their adoptive parents, the state sent out a child protective investigator.

She filled out a safety questionnaire indicating that in almost
every instance the children were not in danger, even though she did
not see the twins, Victor and Nubia, and had no idea where they
were. One day later, police said Nubia's father beat her to death.

The case has spurred debate about whether investigators trained
by the Department of Children and Families are qualified to
investigate serious abuse allegations or whether it's a job best
left to law enforcement. It's handled differently around the state.
Seven counties contract with local sheriff's offices.

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