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20 Children in DCF Care Die

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

Twenty children who had come into contact with the Department of Children and Families have died since April 11 -- four times as many as had previously been named, the Miami Herald reports. One was Jewel Re’nee Howard, a 3-year-old who had told her father of abuse inflicted by her mother’s boyfriend, who had a history of arrests and charges. DCF failed to act, which cost Jewel her life. 

In another case, Fernando Luis Barahona, 18 months old, was airlifted to St. Petersburg’s All Children’s Hospital with two skull fractures and other evidence of past abuse.  His mother blamed injuries on the family dog, but DCF workers thought it more likely that her boyfriend -- a man with a history of abuse allegations, who had been the only adult home when the injuries occurred -- was responsible. When Fernando’s mother said she wouldn’t let her boyfriend remain in the  home, DCF let Fernando stay with her. It was a fatal mistake, according to the Miami Herald.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.