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Children’s Deaths Live On As Political Talking Points In Governor Campaign

October 15th, 2014   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy, Commentary

Any child advocate, guardian ad litem or attorney who protects foster children and at-risk kids physically or sexually abused, harmed or otherwise a target of personal injury know discussions of their care and protection are delicate matters. So it is frustrating to those same advocates, guardians and attorneys to see candidates in the Florida governor’s race discussing the fate of at-risk kids in the highly charged and politicized campaign for the state’s highest office.

The Associated Press reported this week that Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been telling the state’s voters that children neglected or abused in Florida are more safe with him as governor than when Charlie Crist was in Tallahassee.

While the two sides disagree about the statistics, and media reports are questioning the figures, one point remains: kids are not fodder for candidates for public office.

To be sure, children die, even those under the watch of or known to be at possible harm by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The Miami Herald investigative series, Innocents Lost, revealed some 477 kids known by Florida DCF have died over the past several years.

That they die is bad enough. That they’ve become fodder for the campaign trail is disheartening and disturbing.

Advocates everywhere are calling on the candidates to leave the kids alone. Whether they’re foster children, abused youths, or those suffering from physical or sexual abused, harm or otherwise a target of personal injury, kids don’t belong in talking points.

We have less than a month until voters head to the polls to choose Florida’s next governor and attorney general. Between now and November 3, let’s hope together that the needs of Florida’s children rise to the top of any discussion about aid, care, funding or programs designed to help kids.

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