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Outrage Widespread As Leaders, Advocates Seek Answers in Florida DCF Children’s Deaths

From Florida to California, outrage and coverage has been widespread in Florida’s ongoing story regarding the abuse and wrongful deaths of 20 children under the watch of Florida Department of Children and Families and their community-based care providers.

This week, Florida Senator Eleanor Sobel, chairwoman of Florida’s Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, and the South Florida legislative caucus held a Town Hall Meeting to explore the issue. What legislators and attendees learned is that while DCF was outsourcing care of the state’s kids, it was at the same time slashing oversight.

“[DCF] slashed 76 family-safety positions in 2011 as part of statewide budget cuts, including 17 quality-assurance posts, leaving DCF with a ‘fuzzy picture’ of the work performed by child-protective investigators and private, contracted caseworkers,” the San Francisco Chronicle quoted leading child advocacy attorney Howard Talenfeld as saying. Talenfeld is the founder and president of Florida’s Children First, the state’s premier child advocacy organization.

This is the first step in a long journey. It’s one that must be taken by us all – as our children’s lives are at stake.

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