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In Children’s Best Interest

An official with Florida Department of Children & Families met with state senators Tuesday to explain the department’s efforts in the wake of “at least” 40 child deaths between January and July while under state care.

Stephen Pennypacker, DCF’s new assistant secretary for programs, said that the agency is trying to improve its efforts to safeguard Florida’s children, according to the Miami Herald.

Pennypacker said that the state is making “a significant change” in its assessment and safety plan in caring for at-risk children.  The old plan had relied on extracting “promise[s]” from parents to care for their children, leaving “some members of the Children, Families & Elder Affairs Committee shaking their heads.”

The Children, Families & Elder Affairs Committee also addressed the issue of “re-homing” adopted children.  SB 498 would require that the court in adoption cases inform parents of post-adoption services for families experiencing problems with the child, the Florida Current reports.  It would also make it a third-degree felony to advertise a child for adoption.  The measure stems from a Reuters investigation titled “The Child Exchange.”

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.