This story originally ran on March 17, 2014. This week, we'll dedicate an hour on-air during the Florida Roundup to the Innocents Lost investigation. Tune in Friday, March 28 at noon.
Last week, the Miami Herald launched a series on a history of failures at DCF -- Florida's Department of Children and Families. But these are failures with a body count: Over six years, nearly 500 children died after DCF had been warned, sometimes repeatedly, that they or their siblings could be in danger. There were many missed opportunities for the state to protect the children.
Changes to the Florida Department of Children and Families are on the way. Lawmakers are considering legislation after a Miami Herald investigation chronicled the deaths of hundreds of children under the state's watch.
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.
A state Senate committee agrees that one of the keys to fixing persistent child welfare problems at Florida's Department of Children and Families is more and better-trained caseworkers. The panel has passed a group of bills with a package of solutions for a very troubled system.
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.
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.
Gov. Rick Scott faces a difficult decision in naming a permanent secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, given the demands of the job, the lateness in his term and the scrutiny of lawmakers moving to respond to a rash of child deaths.
Scott has some breathing room after announcing last week that Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo will stay on the job through the end of the 2014 legislative session. He tapped the Miami-based attorney to lead the agency in mid-July, for 90 days, after David Wilkins resigned under fire.
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.
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.