child abuse deaths

Children's Advocates Mourn Dead Bills

May 1, 2015
Florida Legislature

Children's issues had a rocky legislative session, thanks in part to its abrupt ending.

One proposal that would have boosted health and safety standards for early-education programs (SB 7006 and HB 7017) died for the second straight year. Supporters said the proposal's failure means leaving some kids in risky situations.

"It was a major disappointment," said Ted Granger, executive director of the United Way of Florida. "The failure to pass these bills ensures that those children are going to be staying in unsafe places for another year."

Associated Press

 A father accused of throwing his 5-year-old daughter off of a bridge to her death last week was ordered Monday to undergo a mental health evaluation and was appointed a public defender.

John Jonchuck appeared to refuse to answer questions during the hearing in Pinellas County. When a judge asked Jonchuck at a first appearance hearing last week if he wanted a court-appointed attorney, Jonchuck said he wanted to "leave it in the hands of God."

Associated Press

Just 12 hours before police said John Jonchuck threw his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge - perhaps while she was still alive - the father calmly told a sheriff's deputy he didn't want to hurt himself or his little girl and had "new clarity in his life."

Florida Legislature

Less than a year after Florida’s Legislature passed a massive overhaul of the state’s child protection system, public information about child abuse deaths has become less detailed and more difficult to access, the Miami Herald reports.

Associated Press

Republican Gov. Rick Scott repeatedly tells voters that abused and neglected children are safer under his leadership than when his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist was governor, but an Associated Press examination of that claim shows that campaign claim may be an exaggeration.

Child-welfare officials said Monday they are creating a new position within the agency in an effort to improve transparency when releasing child-abuse-death records.

Fort Myers News-Press

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday named a new interim secretary who will take over the state's embattled child welfare agency amid intense scrutiny following hundreds of child abuse-related deaths.

Mike Carroll's appointment to the Department of Children and Families comes on the heels of a scathing series from the Miami Herald highlighting the deaths of 477 children in the past five years.

Florida’s Department of Children and Families knows well that parents aren't the only risk to abused and neglected children.

Of 477 children who died despite state oversight in the past six years, 65 were victims of their parent’s violent boyfriends and girlfriends, according to a year-long investigation by the Miami Herald. Some of these "paramours," as the law quaintly calls them, were never charged.

A report by the Casey Family Programs released Tuesday to Florida Senate and House committees showed “a particularly bleak picture” of the state’s systemic failure to protect children.

Casey found that investigators do not take into account factors such as domestic violence and drug abuse when investigating child-welfare complaints.