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Florida Department of Children and Families Adds New Data to Child Deaths Site

Florida child abuse attorneys and advocates are watching a move to boost transparency around the deaths of children known to the Florida Department of Children and Families to be at risk of harm. The agency has added to a new website five years of data regarding child abuse deaths.

The pubic site, which was mandated by the Florida Legislature in the wake of the deaths of almost 500 children over the past several years, is being updated each week. It includes new data on the fatalities children stemming from neglect, abuse or other harm.

Mike Carroll, secretary of the beleaguered agency, said the website will help put an end to such fatalities. The intent is to use the data to serve the needs of at-risk children by determining the issues such families face. Information is available and sortable by a child’s age, reports of prior history and by Florida county. DCF officials claim the website provides more information than is required under the recently-passed legislation.

Agency watchers, child advocates and critics suspect otherwise.

“Critics have accused the agency of intentionally manipulating child abuse death investigations to make it appear fewer children were dying,” according to an AP story on the topic.

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