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House panel approves child protection bill

The horrific death of Nubia Barahona, a 10-year-old foster child who was abused and neglected by her adoptive parents, moved state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, to take action.

“It was that case that led to the legislation you have here today,” Diaz told members of the House Civil Justice Subcommittee Wednesday.

His proposal, House Bill 803, would create new training programs for child protective investigators and streamline their electronic record keeping, Diaz said. It would also revamp the procedures for fielding certain calls to the child abuse hotline.

The bill sailed through the civil justice panel Wednesday, and won approval from the House Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee last week.

Diaz said he hopes the legislation will empower child investigative workers “to do what’s right for kids.”

A companion bill will be introduced Thursday in a Senate committee chaired by Sen. Ronda Storms.

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Richard Wexler

What probably motivated Rep. Diaz was the chance to get a headline - like the one above - without doing much of anything.

Meanwhile the Florida Child Abuse Death Review Committee reported some startling data this month: In 2009 and 2010, the years when DCF took away the *fewest* children, deaths of children previously known to DCF were cut by nearly half.

That's still more evidence that the smart sensible reforms that cut needless foster care (and gave workers more time to find children in real danger) during the tenure of Bob Butterworth and George Sheldon did, in fact, make children safer.

David Wilkins' retreat from those reforms is what really endangers children. Details on our Florida website here:http://bit.ly/i1S8vc

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
www.nccpr.org

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