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Ninth Vulnerable Child Dies Under Watch of Hillsborough Kids

February 3rd, 2012   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

In January, child advocates, guardians, child welfare attorneys and others watched as the Florida Department of Children and Families pulled its $65.5 million contract from community based care provider Hillsboro Kids, in part because eight children had died under its supervision in two years. Add one more to the list.

Young child Gabrielle Crawford, born with multiple birth defects, died in December while under the care of his mother – who’d already had four children taken from her. Though he was never expected to live past 2 – he was was 8 months old at the time of his death – Gabrielle had broken bones and a bruise on his face.

“On Thursday, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office called Gabrielle a homicide victim,” wrote the Tampa Bay Times. “The state Department of Children and Families called his death another example of the failure of Hillsborough child protectors to avert a tragedy unfolding before their eyes.

“No other region in the state has a child death rate as high,” the Times wrote. The nine deaths, said Mike Carroll, DCF’s Suncoast regional director, ‘were the driving force to change lead agencies.’ He said DCF and (new CBC) Eckerd would immediately began reviewing ‘every single child’ under supervision in Hillsborough County, about 2,500 children.”

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