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Florida’s Children First Offers Five Steps for ‘Thoughtful Reform’ to the Child Welfare System

Yesterday we awakened to the news reports of the record breaking quake in Japan and the resulting tsunami in the Pacific Ocean. Our thoughts are with the survivors of these disasters and the overwhelming devastation left behind. But our work is focused on the tsunami of tragedy that has inundated Florida’s child welfare system.

Victor and Nubia in Miami, Jermaine and Ju’tyra in in Delray, Ronderique in Tampa and an unnamed 10-year-old boy in Charlotte County – 4 dead, 2 seriously injured, all discovered since January.

All Floridians should be outraged and saddened when they learn of the details of these cases. They are right to demand reform and accountability. FCF joins in that urgent cry – but we do so with the benefit of the knowledge and experience of our day to day work advocating for children in state care. We cannot let outrage result in bad public policy.

We therefore urge all policy makers – and the public at large to consider five principles as they undertake to debate and reform our child welfare system. If like what you read below, please read the complete position paper.

1. Changing the Structure of The Child Welfare System will not “Fix” It. Just as privatizing child welfare did not cure all ills, neither will returning to a state-run system. Children cannot wait for an entire system change for reform to happen.

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