Governor Rick Scott says he wants an additional about $23 million to fund Florida’s child welfare agency—under scrutiny recently for its involvement in two high profile child abuse deaths.
Janiya Thomas was one of five siblings, and her family had an extensive history with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
“When [a previous] case was closed out, all five children were present and all five children were included in that case,” said DCF Secretary Mike Carroll, speaking recently to lawmakers. “So, they were all accounted for.”
But, after receiving the most recent child abuse allegation, Carroll says it was later revealed that Janiya was missing for more than a year.
“This time, the children were removed,” he added. “However, when the children were removed, there were only four children. And, then a law enforcement investigation began.”
The body of the 11-year-old Manatee County girl was later found in a relative’s freezer. Carroll says his agency also failed in preventing the death of a newborn baby whose parents were the target of an anonymous caller to the child abuse hotline, a day after he was born. That call went ignored.
Meanwhile, in a release, the Governor says the $22.9 million will allow for the hiring of more than 270 case managers—which oversee foster care and adoption services. The funding is also aimed at increasing services for kids at risk from being removed from their home.
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