Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday said he supports child welfare secretary David Wilkins, following the fourth case in the past six weeks of the death of a child who had drawn the interest of administrators in the agency headed by Wilkins, the Department of Children and Families.
The Miami Herald reported that two-year-old Ezra Raphael of North Miami Beach died last week of blunt trauma and the medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide. DCF reported in February that the "risk is high" of danger to the child, but the agency closed its investigation without taking any other action, The Herald reported. Ezra's mother had previously been declared unfit as a mother and lost custody of an older child.
The other recent child deaths are detailed here by the Herald.
Commenting on the latest death, Scott told reporters: "You would hate for anything to happen to any child ... Any time anything like this happens, you take it very seriously and the expectation is you go back and make sure it doesn't happen again. I think Secretary Wilkins is doing a very good job. He's very committed to doing the right thing. He's very committed to making sure that every child is taken care of, and he'll do the right thing in looking into this."
A day earlier, following a Cabinet meeting, Scott praised Wilkins and his wife Tanya for their efforts to help foster children find adoptive parents and for helping to make Florida "the best place for children."
-- Steve Bousquet