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Democrats to Gov. Rick Scott: Call off latest budget slashing at Department of Children and Families

By Carol Marbin Miller

With less than a year to go before voters choose the state’s next governor, Florida Democrats are tipping their hand on an issue they think could move the needle in the election: the failures of the state’s child welfare system.

The leader of the Democratic Caucus in the state House of Representative, Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale, delivered a letter to Gov. Rick Scott Thursday morning blasting the governor for proposing cuts to the budget of the agency that has failed to prevent the deaths of scores of children whose families had been on the state’s radar because of prior complaints. Scott is seeking re-election, but faces unfavorable poll numbers.

“In view of your abject failure to protect these vulnerable children, I plead with you to avoid in your forthcoming budget recommendations any additional spending cuts to your Department of Children & Families,” Thurston wrote. “When you have failed to protect Florida’s most innocent residents, it would be abhorrent to ask the agency you have tasked with their protection to make budget cuts.”

The shortcomings at DCF first came to light this past summer, when the Miami Herald reported on the deaths of four children DCF had previously investigated. Amid a loud outcry from children’s advocates and community leaders, then-DCF Secretary David Wilkins resigned.

But the deaths continued. At the urging of interim Secretary Esther Jacobo, who had headed the agency’s Miami outpost before being tapped for the job, a team of consultants from Seattle-based Casey Family Programs reviewed 40 child death cases from this year.

More here.

Comments

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ed jenkins

That our state government should even have such a department is absurd. We have charities that can take care of unfortunate children which will be much more empathetic and nurturing than some government bureaucrat. If crimes are committed against children or they are in possible danger, that is a job for our police departments who can better investigate these things than some cold hearted government caseworker. The citizens would prefer a system similar to the past where the churches who were the most caring and selfless institutions handled these orphans and adoptions and at the same time the state would not waste money on subject such as this that are not its job.

Indie Thinker

Hey, Ed, I have to say again, you're a great parody of a Rick Scott supporter! I know what you mean. If indeed churches did their job, government wouldn't need to step in. Sadly, so many of them are too busy with nonsense to do that job.

Rick Scott's own church is a great example. Scott was a founding member of Naples Community Church, which was started when Scott followed his pastor, Kirt Anderson, from First Presbyterian in Naples. Andersen had left because of a feud with church leaders, and it's not hard to see why. Andersen’s church is fiscally irresponsible, and is a mirror image of Scott’s own preferences for state government.

The church bought a home for itself in a building worth 2.5 million dollars. In contrast, to celebrate the opening of that 2.5 million dollar building, the church gave a comparative pittance of $50,000 to Habitat for Humanity, and a mere $37,000 for an impoverished church in Immokalee.

So yeah Ed...you're ironically right even while you're wrong (in parody). Maybe you ought to hop over to Naples and preach them a sermon...ya think?

Can't take anymore

Scott will continue to slash the budget for DCF to continue eliminating taxes on businesses. Perhaps he can convince his friends in the legislature to require churches to take on the role of protecting children or lose their tax exempt status. The only law enforcement agencies hot to take on the role of investigating abuse complaints are those that have never had to do it. They quickly learn how much time and manpower are swallowed up by these complex and difficult cases. No, nothing will happen and the newest sacrificial lamb (Esther Jacobo) will be told to do more with less and make sure nothing else bad happens. Look for her to have to fall on her sword for Scott within 6 months.

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