This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee, Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we talk with actor Ziyi Zhang about her latest film "The Grandmaster," and women in kung fu. That's in a moment. But we start our program today in Florida. At least 20 children who were on the radar of child protective services have died there since April, that's according to an investigation by the Miami Herald. And the question of course is, why and how do we stop more deaths from occurring?
On the day before she died, Jewel Re’nee Howard sat on the porch, in her grandmother’s lap, having her hair twisted into ponytails made pretty with pink and purple beads. She played outside the home with neighborhood children, ate noodles, talked and giggled, as she had so many days before, about her dream of becoming a princess.
Less than 15 hours later, Jewel was dead — her liver torn and mangled, ribs crushed, her tiny body bruised and bleeding internally.
Nubia Barahona, 10, of Kendall is found in a black garbage bag in the back of her adoptive father's pickup truck. The state had approved her adoption and then overlooked reports of abuse.
Credit Joe Rimkus Jr. / Miami Herald, Courtesy of BSO
Police unearth the skeleton of Hallandale Beach baby Dontrell Melvin behind his parent's former home, three months after DCF "screen[ed]" a report that his mother hasn't know his whereabouts for 15 months.
Credit Courtesy of CBS4
Antwan Hope, 4, of Broward County, dies when left alone, against a judge's orders, with a mentally ill mother who once tried to smother him to death.
Credit Miami Herald
Two-year-old Ezra Raphael is whipped to death with a belt when his mother leaves him alone with her boyfriend. DCF had closed its investigation despite a finding that "risk is high."
David Wilkins, Florida's top child welfare and social services administrator resigned July 18 amid an escalating scandal over the recent deaths of four small children who had a history of involvement with child-abuse investigators.
Read more of the original Tampa Bay Times article here.