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FL Says It's Protecting Kids; Meanwhile...

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Two state agencies announced steps Wednesday that they say will keep Florida's children -- especially disabled, abused and foster kids -- safer. Meanwhile, though, a video surfaced showing a guard at a youth prison roughing up a teen-age girl.

The Miami Herald posted the video as well as an account of what happened.  Reporter Carol Marbin Miller writes that the guard was arrested on charges of battery causing great bodily harm, yet was bailed out and back on the job at Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility.

The Department of Juvenile Justice, which contracts with the private facility, sent a protest over the guard's reinstatement and is investigating why the contractor failed to report the incident. It was discovered only after the girl, who is seen being shoved face-first into a concrete wall, called the state abuse hotline.

The new call center for that hotline was unveiled Wednesday by the Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins, as News Service of Florida reported. Wilkins said it was dedicated to the memory of Nubia Barahona, a 10-year-old Miami girl allegedly killed by her foster father two years ago after the call center mishandled a warning that she was in danger.

In other news reported by The Miami Herald, Agency for Health Care Administration Chief Liz Dudek announced a set of new policies designed to keep disabled children from being placed in nursing homes if they can remain with their parents or in foster care.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.