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Report: Florida ranks 4th in child welfare

Florida's child welfare system is among the best in the country for reducing abuse in foster care and responding quickly to abuse allegations, according to a free-market think tank report released today.

The state, which delivers foster care and related services through private community agencies, was ranked as the country's 4th best child welfare system overall, says the report, which uses federal data compiled by the Foundation for Government Accountability.

"Child welfare is a very emotional business, by definition, but it's also important to run it like a business," said David Wilkins, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families. "Because you have to have accountability, you have to have metrics, and you have to measure those metrics and always demand improved and better performance."

The report, which does not consider child deaths, comes after Hillsborough Kids Inc. failed to prevent nine deaths within the past two years. The agency, serving Tampa for about a decade, lost its government contract and will be replaced by Eckerd Community Alternatives/Hillsborough on July 1. 

That's an example of how public-private cooperation can allow the state to maneuver and address problems, Wilkins said.

"It's the definition of privatization. It is not an entitlement program to a third-party organization," he said. "That contract was rebid, there were several organizations that bid, and Eckerd won. The incumbant on the project, definitely, their performance had a direct impact."

Florida did not rank well in every outcome. In fact, it fared poorly (No. 41) on overall prevention of abuse and neglect. And it ranked as No. 28 in both educational outcomes and minimizing the number of times kids change foster homes. 

Florida also ranks in the middle in terms of how much is spent per foster child, at $36,932 per year, said Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the foundation that produced the report.

"There's not a strong correlation between how much a state spends, and the outcomes they get," he said. "It's what is the state prioritizing? And where are those resources going?"

Idaho, which ranked No. 1 overall, operates on a fully public child welfare system. New Hampshire and North Carolina also ranked higher than Florida overall.

Twitter: Britt_alana





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Jovanie Miller

Fail- The study failed to account "deaths", how convenient. Florida ranks last because the State does NOT care about kids. Spending millions on Poly Tech a useless college, yet cutting services for the elderly and children. The Free Market Think Tank must be funded by the "private" services contracted by the State. The ones where the CEO's make around 200,000 per year.

Elyse Ted

It's great to see a good ranking, but there are still so many more kids who need help. Find out more about becoming a foster parent: http://www.kidspeace.org/Fostercare_Services_Locations.aspx?ekmensel=b4bf93ab_50_52_1326_2

Roger Smith

Around America we found a number of child care centers are being opened day by day as due to the protect the rights and interest of children through introducing various kinds of policies and plans. Many non government organizations are step forward to prevent many negative remarks such as child abuse and child labor and these programs are planned through child welfare systems. Florida one of the biggest city which runs child welfare system now secured the 4th position in ranking of child welfare systems.

Odriscoll Mortensen

Hail for Florida for paying a great concern to children. May other countries also emulate what the Florida government did. You are indeed an inspiration.

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