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DCF reminds families to stay safe while celebrating Independence Day

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As Floridians celebrate the long Independence Day weekend, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is reminding parents and caregivers to take extra precautions to keep children safe. While Independence Day is an important time to reflect on the nation’s history and celebrate our freedom, it is also important to take some simple steps to ensure your family’s safety. “Whether on the playground or at a campground, make sure your family stays safe as you celebrate Independence Day,” DCF…

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Florida wildlife officials urge safety, beacons for July Fourth weekend boating

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During the Fourth of July holiday, many people take to the water to celebrate Independence Day. The warm, sunny days of summer combined with viewing fireworks puts many more boats and people on the water near one another. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) urges boaters to use caution while boating on this busy holiday. Inattentiveness or improper lookout cause many boating accidents. “Boat operators have a personal responsibility to make sure their passengers are safe and they…

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Why children die – Part 1: If Everybody’s responsible, nobody’s responsible

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“Foster care kids are our kids. They are our kids,” said Boca Raton Democratic Sen. Kevin Rader in support of legislation making it easier for youth in state custody to obtain a driver’s license. You hear that line a lot — a lot — from “leadership” at the Department of Children & Families (DCF), and from the flacks who wear the skirts behind which “leadership” hides. It means nothing. It means less than nothing. Latest case in point: Lauryn Martin-Everett.…

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Did DCF create media frenzy after foster child’s suicide to distract from agency errors?

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Naika Venant’s mother vehemently refutes narratives by the state agency in a March 13 report, including suggestion she ‘allegedly’ commented on Facebook Live thread taunting daughter while watching and did nothing; lawyer says agencies ‘abysmally failed’ Naika. *** Naika Venant was a girl whose personality had turned from that of a bright and gifted child – despite her naïveté toward adult subject matter – to one of rebelliousness and anger, according to records and her mother. The dark transition leading…

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Psychotropic cocktail may have contributed to Facebook Live suicide

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Part of a psychological evaluation administered to Naika Venant in June 2015 included a sentence completion test. For the beginning stem sentence “The thing I want to do most of all is …” the then-12-year-old girl responded: “Die happy.” Sentence tests can provide indications of attitudes, beliefs, motivations or other mental states. Other sentences she finished: “My best friend is … I don’t have a best friend.” “The person I’m most afraid of is … nobody.” “I would do anything…

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Breezing through committee: Welfare drug testing, DCF takes backseat in Walton County

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Two measures dealing with drug testing for certain public aid applicants and law enforcement taking over DCF’s role investigative role in another county met no resistance Tuesday. Among several bills heard by the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee were two dealing with applicants of temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) and child welfare investigations. With regard to TANF, Sen. Jack Latvala introduced SB 1392, a bill that would require applicants with felony drug convictions within 10 years from…

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Records released by DCF portray different picture of mother in teen’s Facebook Live suicide

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The mother of a teen who committed suicide was in her car when she began receiving a trickle of text messages, Then a barrage of texts began streaming in. “Where’s your daughter,” one read. “Please please please check on your daughter,” read another. Gina Alexis, the mother of Naika Venant, the 14-year-old girl who hung herself with a scarf in January as hundreds watched, began to frantically make phone calls — first to Naika’s case worker. But no one picked…

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