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Florida Child Welfare Costs Up Since Privatization. What About Care?

Low operational costs has been the promise of privatization of governmental services. Yet in child welfare — one of Florida’s longest-running and largest efforts into privatization — costs have risen, a Sun Sentinel analysis found. Meanwhile, advocates and child welfare attorneys wonder about the effects on vulnerable and foster children in programs overseen by the Department of Children and Families.

“Florida spends more than $1 billion a year on abused and neglected children, up from $717 million in 2000, when the state began farming out foster care and adoptions to private agencies, according to the state Department of Children & Families,” the paper reports.  “Adjusted for inflation, spending is up $105 million over 2000.”

“It’s not cheaper,” state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, told the paper. “That’s what everyone says when they talk about privatization — it’s cheaper. That has not been proven.”

The paper’s takeaway: “Florida spends more today on child welfare despite caring for far fewer foster children. That’s because of a shift in favor of preventing abuse and keeping families together.” Read the entire story here.

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