What is FCA?

Child Advocacy Blog


Credentials, Transparency Lacking With Florida Department of Children and Families Investigators

The deaths of several children under the watch of the Florida Department of Children and Families have raised serious issues regarding the credentials – or lack thereof – of DCF investigators.

In one case, the Miami Herald reports that “The Miami child abuse investigator who resigned under pressure last May after an infant she declared ‘safe’ was later baked to death in a sweltering car had been working for two years without required certification — a violation of state law.”

In an editorial entitled, “DCF, Heal Thyself,” the Miami Herald wrote, “Something is horribly wrong with the Florida Department of Children & Families’ investigative process. Four children have died in the past six weeks alone. Their troubled parents all were known to DCF. But all four tots died while in the custody of supposed caretakers.

“In each instance, DCF had the chance to remove the child from potential danger. Instead, the agency’s overarching priority of keeping families together (too often without adequate resources or supervision) is putting kids in harm’s way….DCF Secretary David Wilkins acknowledges that mistakes were made in some of those cases. But where’s the urgency to stop returning children to abusive households? Why does this keep happening? The problems lie within DCF itself. Its investigator training lacks accountability, the quality of investigators’ work and their judgment-making ability remains hampered by Mr. Wilkins’ top-down rigidity…”

Things must change – or the pattern of children’s deaths will not.

Leave a Reply