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Florida Lawmakers Aren’t Buying DCF Answers, Call for More From Community Based Care Agencies

Florida Senator Rhonda Storms was skeptical and blunt in her assessment of the Florida Department of Children and Families’ handing of recent high-profile cases, like that of Nubia and Victor Barahona, and its promises of change: “How will this be different? How many more investigations, how many more death reviews do we have to do?”

The question was posed to David Wilkins, the new head of DCF. But Storms wasn’t through. Tired of excuses, she wanted answers from DCF, and the agencies to which it pays more than $100 million to oversee child services.

Storms wanted nothing of his explanations. She wanted answers and more organizations to be held accountable. That includes Our Kids, the lead agency which is responsible for the overall system. Said one advocate, if Fran Allegra, the CEO, does not admit fault, improvement will not come. More children will slip through the cracks of this dysfunctional, unaccountable system and be harmed.

“How about we start looking at the CBCs (community-based care organizations)? They need to get their fannies up here and explain,” she demanded. “We are still having little broken bodies, and it’s not just because evil people will do evil things. It’s because people – competent, professional people who are paid to do their job – are not doing their jobs.”

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