Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday requested $22.9 million in the state budget for case managers for children in the custody of the Department of Children and Families and provide other safety services for abused and neglected kids.
The money is expected to hire 272 case managers, reducing the number of children each manager is responsible for.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking when a child is a victim of abuse or neglect," Scott said in a statement. "Anytime something horrific happens to an innocent child, we have to stop and think about what we can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again."
In stories published over the last year and a half, the Miami Herald found that children have died and been severely abused as a result of cutbacks to DCF. This has meant that fewer children are being taken into state care and those who are have access to fewer resources.
Hiring people alone may not be enough to keep staffing levels high and kids safe. Earlier this month, Janice Thomas, deputy secretary of DCF, told a Florida House subcommittee that the agency faces high job turnover: For every three new hires, one staffer leaves.
“It is a high-pressure stress situation,” said Thomas, a former investigator.