DCF

American Medical Students Less Likely To Choose To Become Primary Care Doctors

Jul 3, 2019
University of Central Florida

Despite hospital systems and health officials calling out the need for more primary care doctors, graduates of U.S. medical schools are becoming less likely to choose to specialize in one of those fields. 

Department of Children and Family Services Assistant Secretary for Economic Self-Sufficiency Taylor Hatch and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Kurt A. Hoffman announce an ongoing investigation looking into a statewide DCF data breach.
COURTESY SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

By Daylina Miller

Thousands of Floridians – including children - who receive public assistance benefits like food stamps and Medicaid had their personal information stolen by a Department of Children and Families employee. 

Florida officials received a report in May of alleged child sexual abuse at the Homestead migrant shelter, marking the seventh report of such abuse at the controversial federal facility.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida / WUSF

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday named Rebecca Kapusta to serve as interim secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families. 

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll is leaving the agency effective Sept. 6.

25 children have died after being left in a hot car so far this year. Two of those death occurred in Florida. The Florida Department of Children and Families is trying to combat this issue.

Florida Office of the Governor

The Florida Department of Children and Families will seek approval from lawmakers to shift $3.1 million to help fill a gap in funding for homeless-prevention services, Gov. Rick Scott’s office said Monday. 

With the 2018 legislative session around the corner, Florida lawmakers as well as child welfare stakeholders are starting to dive into how to address the huge turnover of the state’s child protective investigators. Their job is to look into cases called into the state’s child abuse hotline.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is urging the Department of Agriculture to extend the deadline for Floridians to apply for emergency food benefits in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill approving the remaining payment of $3.75 million to the surviving victim in a child abuse case. 

The head of Florida’s child welfare system says it will most likely be about a month before he will have a preliminary report ready for state lawmakers about Nakia Venant. She’s the Miami teenager in foster care who committed suicide live on Facebook last month.

DCF To Move Ahead With Foster-Care Changes After Bill Fails

Mar 16, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

A bill aimed at reforming the way Florida foster children are placed in group homes died on the last day of the 2016 legislative session.

Florida is on pace to have nearly as many child deaths this year as it did before the overhaul of its child welfare system last year. In about a quarter of those deaths, the Florida Department of Children and Families had prior contact with the family. 

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.

Manatee County Sheriff's Office

The body of an 11-year-old girl who had apparently been missing for more than a year — though authorities say no one reported her disappearance or questioned her whereabouts — was found in a freezer that her mother left at the home of some family members, police said Monday.

DCF, Senators Eye Ways To Bolster Child Protection

Oct 12, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

The chief of the Florida Department of Children and Families told lawmakers Thursday his agency is making progress at carrying out reforms but still has a long way to go.

DCF Regional Leader Steps Down

Sep 4, 2015

The Florida Department of Children and Families lost one of its six regional managing directors Wednesday night, when David Abramowitz resigned from his post overseeing child-welfare services in 20 counties in Northeast and North Central Florida.

The head of Florida’s child welfare agency says he’s renewing his commitment to making his agency better.

Polk County Sheriff's Office

A Polk County jury will begin to hear the case of a Department of Children and Families case worker accused of threatening to take a woman’s children unless she had sex with him, the Ledger of Lakeland reports. 

The head of Florida’s child welfare agency is now on the path to getting confirmed by the full Senate, after initial approval from a Senate panel this week.

A man accused of throwing his daughter off a bridge has been found incompetent to stand trial in her death.

John Jonchuck appeared in court Tuesday. The case has been reset for a status check on Feb. 17.

If the court rules in line with the doctors' reports, Jonchuck would likely be sent to a hospital for six months before his case returns to court for another status check.

Jonchuck was arrested Jan. 8 after authorities said he dropped 5-year-old Phoebe more than 60 feet off a bridge.

He has a history of mental health issues.

The call that came in to the Florida Department of Families abuse hotline hours before 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck was killed should have raised alarms, the News Service of Florida reports, but "the hotline staff concluded the report 'does not rise to the level of reasonable cause to suspect.” Now, lawmakers and DCF leaders are looking for more changes at the call center, focusing on the judgment calls made by staff when calls come in. As the News Service reports, it’s not the first time a child’s death has prompted changes at the state abuse hotline; it received $20 million from the Florida Legislature to redesign the call center after the murder of Nubia Barahona in 2011.

Florida child welfare officials say calls reporting suspected human trafficking in Florida have doubled since 2010.

The hotline received nearly 1,000 calls last year, compared to 480 in 2011.

The Department of Children and Families said Tuesday that the increase is a result of a successful awareness and education campaign about human trafficking.

Secretary Mike Carroll says very few people are unaware of what human trafficking is, which was not true four years ago.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is challenging a nearly two-year-old agreement to pay $5 million for the brutal death of a 10-year-old South Florida girl and torture of her twin brother, the Miami Herald reports.

The new adoptive family of Victor Barahona is still trying to claim money approved in 2013, meant to help them deal with the long-term psychological damage to the boy, the Herald reports.

In the months before a Volusia County man shot his three children, his wife's drinking seemed to be tearing the family apart.

According to documents released Tuesday by state child welfare officials, Cynthia Mohney was stumbling drunk at times, repeatedly slapped the children and they were increasingly afraid of her.

It was her disturbing behavior that brought child protective investigators to the home in June and recommended she seek substance abuse treatment. Two of the children even told investigators they felt safer with their father.

Administrators with the Florida Department of Children and Families had recommended that a child protection program administrator be fired after involvement in a 2013 case where a 2-year-old was killed by his mother’s boyfriend.

According to a review of Florida Department of Children and Families documents by the Miami Herald, child deaths are being inaccurately counted. The problem, as reporter Carol Marbin Miller explains, is when the death of a child goes from “verified” -- resulting from neglect and abuse -- to “unverified.” As the Herald reports, cases where DCF had prior contact and documented abuse still aren’t being counted as a result of these switches and delays in investigations

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.

Department of Children and Families

Over an eight-year period, Florida's child welfare agency was repeatedly called with allegations that the six children of Sarah Spirit were being mistreated, abused or neglected.

At one point, several children told child protection investigators that they feared their grandfather, Don Spirit. Don Spirit was supervising the children when one child was burned on a space heater. He was outside with another child when that child fractured his arm. Don Spirit was also seen by one of the children when he beat his daughter while she was 36 weeks pregnant.

AP Photo/Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office

Two weeks before a Florida man fatally shot his daughter and six grandchildren, someone called the state child abuse hotline, worried that adults were doing drugs in front of the kids, according to documents released Monday.

Authorities said 51-year-old Donald Spirit called 911 from his mobile home Thursday warning he might hurt himself or others. By the time a deputy arrived, Spirit had committed suicide. And he had killed 28-year-old Sarah Spirit and her six children, including an infant girl born in June.

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