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DCF adopted new policies to mask mounting child deaths, records show

In the wake of one of the deadliest eras in the history of Florida child welfare, administrators pledged to be more open, even suggesting the added scrutiny could help the agency keep more youngsters safe.

“The answer is to keep this in the public eye,” DCF’s interim Secretary, Esther Jacobo said in January, while discussing ways to reform the troubled agency.

But even as lawmakers debated measures to require the Department of Children & Families to be more transparent, the agency has pushed to weaken them and has already quietly adopted internal policies making it harder for the public to track the agency’s actions.

DCF’s new disclosure policies delay and sharply restrict information provided in official child death reports, a move critics argue could help mask mounting child deaths. The policies are far more rigid than in past years, when the grim details in those reports led to a yearlong Miami Herald investigation called Innocents Lost. Story here. 

 

 

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