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An Unspeakable and Hidden Horror: DCF Records Reveal Florida Children Suffering ‘Untold Story of Abuse and Neglect’

Florida child advocates, guardians and attorneys who represent and protect the state’s most vulnerable children from physical abuse, sexual abuse and other harm were horrified with the spate of seven deaths in recent months – children all under the watch of Florida Department of Children and Families.

It appears that was a fraction of the horror happening to the state’s at-risk children.

The deaths of 20 children in recent months – all of whom were known to DCF reiterates the fact that the agency lacks any transparency, quality assurance, data and accountability. It further reinforces the belief of advocates that, as implemented, privatization of services has been a failure – and that DCF has hidden horrific outcomes.

The latest news comes from a Miami Herald investigation that uncovered the deaths of 20 children, all of whom had been reported to DCF as having been abused or living amid potentially violent circumstances.

The news of seven deaths cost former DCF Chief David Wilkins his job. How will DCF respond to the actual tally: That 20 children with child protection histories have died since April?

We applaud Florida Senator Eleanor Sobel for being out front on this situation and calling for this Tuesday’s hearings on this egregious situation. What her committee will discover is that these deaths are the tip of the iceberg. We are still seeing an epidemic of physical and sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, with privatization still being “an experiment,” there are too many providers in each community. Given that DCF killed its oversight three years ago, we rely on the aggressive investigative efforts of the news media to be our eyes and ears – and not the state organizations tasked with protecting the children.

This is wrong. Hopefully, Senator Sobel’s committee will further shed light on these practices that only put children further at risk.

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