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DCF Targeting Child Welfare Overflow

The Florida Department of Children and Families is working with the agency that oversees child welfare in Miami to resolve issues that have included an overflow of kids in the foster-care system.

The department is collaborating with Our Kids, the lead community-based care agency for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, after a surge in the number of children coming into state care, DCF Interim Secretary Mike Carroll said.

Carroll said he was getting reports that Miami-Dade had few options for children in out-of-home care, so they were being housed in “hotels, offices and emergency group home placements.”

Our Kids spokeswoman Kadie Black says the agency has seen a 44 percent increase in children coming into foster care, and now serves about 33 percent more children than it did in June 2013.

Carroll sent child-welfare professionals from other parts of the state to consult with their counterparts in Miami.

“Really what I wanted to do was send a team down there to just be a support, and to defuse what I perceived to be a lot of built-up tension by stakeholders in the community,” he said.

Now, Carroll says, there are no children in state care staying in Miami hotels.

Black and Carroll say the rise in children coming into care isn't just happening in Miami, although Miami has seen one of the sharpest increases.