child welfare

Health Plan for Legal Immigrant Kids Stalled

Mar 20, 2015

A bill that would extend low-cost KidCare health insurance to roughly 25,000 children of legal immigrants has gotten further in the Florida Senate than ever before, but remains stalled in the House.

New Year, New Child-Seat Law

Dec 31, 2014
Miki Yoshihito / Flickr CC

Florida’s new child seat law goes into effect Thursday, Jan. 1.

In 2014, the Palm Beach Post called Florida’s old child-seat law “the most lax car seat law in the nation.” Under those rules, children were allowed to stop sitting in car seats as soon as they turned 4.

Under the new law, children must be in a car seat until they turn 6. Parents and immediate family members could be fined $60 and get three points on their licenses for failing to comply.

Florida Roundup: Safety While Reporting Abroad

Sep 5, 2014

  On the Florida Roundup, Steven Sotloff, from Pinecrest, is the second American journalist murdered by the Islamic State. Florida Senator Bill Nelson wants to give President Obama authority to use air strikes against the group in Syria.

Daniel Bock for the Miami Herald

At least once a week for about five months, Jalen Brown and other children from South Miami boarded a bus and took the 15-minute drive to Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove for swimming lessons.

Along the way the children, many of whom live in low-income housing, saw “mansions” they dreamed of living in and cars they hoped to afford one day.

The bus ride bridged a gap from their small, historically black community in South Miami to the affluent private school where swimming is part of the routine and not a privilege.

Wilson Sayre

A Guardian ad Litem is the court-appointed voice of a child when government agencies suspect abuse or neglect. But the GAL program is, on the surface, unusual.

It’s built on a network of solely volunteers who take one case at a time, acting as eyes and ears for kids who are often too young to discerningly use their own. The future of those children is in large part determined by the Guardian ad Litem’s recommendation to the court.

Although the GAL program is held up as an example of what works in child advocacy, it is in a time of transition.

HECTOR GABINO / EL NUEVO HERALD

    

For more than a year, the Miami Herald dug through Department of Children & Families records and police reports to find out how and why nearly 500 children died over the past six years after falling through the Florida Department of Children & Families’ protective net.  

The investigative series, Innocents Lost, uncovered the disturbing stories and found that the agency had embraced a family preservation philosophy without ensuring all the necessary social services were in place to keep children safe in troubled homes.  

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Join the Miami Herald and WLRN-Miami Herald News for a town hall on how to fix the child welfare system at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17 at the Doral headquarters of the Herald. Learn more at MiamiHerald.com.

Courtesy of Severiana Novas-Francois

In Florida, children who were born outside the United States -- and live here lawfully -- have to wait five years to qualify for the subsidized health care program known as Florida KidCare.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, are sponsoring legislation to drop the five-year waiting period.

The law made its third trip to the legislature this year, and will get its first hearing in the Senate committee Tuesday.

Seandel Edwards/flickr

The Miami Herald series “Innocents Lost” may lead to more changes at DCF – Florida’s Department of Children and Families.

The Herald investigation chronicles the deaths of hundreds of children under DCF’s watch.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, is one of the state leaders charged with overseeing DCF as chair of the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee.

Florida's DCF Launches New Child-Safety Program

Mar 19, 2014
FrauSchütze / Flickr CC

Days after a Miami Herald investigation documented 477 child-abuse deaths on the agency's watch, Florida's Department of Children and Families is launching a new child-safety program. It's advice for busy parents who may not be too careful about who takes care of their children. Click to hear Rick Stone's radio story. 

Scott Wants $40 Million Increase For Child Protection

Jan 14, 2014
Tobias Aakerbum / Flicker CC

  In the wake of a wave of children's deaths last year, Gov. Rick Scott is calling on the Florida Legislature to include about $40 million in additional money for child protection in the next state budget, the governor announced Tuesday in Miami.

Scott's budget proposal includes nearly $32 million for the state Department of Children and Families for child protective investigations and $8 million for six Florida sheriff's offices that handle such investigations.

Scott called his proposal a "historic" budget increase for DCF, and Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo agreed.

FrauSchütze / Flickr CC

In an outdoor press conference on Fort Lauderdale's Sistrunk Boulevard, in front of a large Christmas tree, State Rep. Perry Thurston urged Gov. Rick Scott to provide sufficient funding for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

littlebluecottage/flickr

A Florida Senate committee has approved a bill cracking down on parents who illegally put their children up for adoption.

The practice often involves children who were adopted from other countries.

It's called "rehoming," and it puts kids into new families -- for free. The kids are typically offered for adoption on the Internet by parents who just don’t want them anymore.

Can Google Safety Tips Cancel Net's Threats?

Dec 4, 2013
Maryland Attorney General / Flickr CC

Google's new Internet-safety program for school kids made its Florida debut recently in Cooper City. A lunchroom full of Pioneer Middle School students were shown the sometimes-complicated guide to going online and coming back in one piece.

The Internet is as much a part of school life today as three-ring binders and Dewey Decimal card catalogs were in an earlier time. The only difference: Old-time school artifacts did not moonlight as entertainment and communication media and certainly carried no risk of ruining, or even ending, young lives.

www.facebook.com/FloridasChildrenFirst

09/05/13 - Thursday's Topical Currents begins with attorney Howard Talenfeld.  He specializes in children’s and elderly rights, and is the founding President of Florida’s Children First, an advocacy group which monitors the treatment of Florida’s at-risk children and the delinquency system. And more.  Linda Gassenheimer’s Food & Dining with TV’s Anne Burrell, the host of “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.” That’s Topical Currents Thursday at 1pm on WLRN-HD1, rebroadcast at 7pm on WLRN-HD2.

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