Interim Department of Children & Families Secretary Esther Jacobo has agreed to stay in the job through the end of the 2014 legislative session, Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday. She’ll be continuing in the post at a time when the department is trying to correct flaws that helped lead to the deaths of 40 children under state care.
Jacobo, Miami’s top DCF administrator, took over the post in July, after former DCF Secretary David Wilkins resigned amid the scandal over the deaths of four children from families with a history of involvement with child abuse investigators during a six-week period, catalogued in stories by The Miami Herald.
Scott also said that his office will be meeting with children services and law enforcement officials and community leaders to identify a permanent secretary.
Here are comments from Scott and Jacobo from Wednesday’s press release from the governor’s office:
“Esther has been an incredible leader, and she will be an invaluable resource for legislators on children and family issues during the upcoming legislative session. Our state has already benefited from the on-the-ground experience Esther brings to DCF, and we will continue to work with child services stakeholders to ensure we have the best leadership at the agency to protect Florida children.”
Interim Secretary Jacobo said, “When Governor Scott asked if I would stay through the legislative session, I jumped at the opportunity. I am eager to lead our team through session because I believe in the work we are doing. I cannot thank Governor Scott enough for the honor of serving as Secretary of DCF, and I look forward to continuing to work on significant changes that will have a positive impact on our state’s most vulnerable children and families.”