DCF releases preemptive report on Miami Herald child-abuse series

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The Florida Department of Children and Families issued a preemptive statement Friday ahead of a Miami Herald series of investigations into the state child-welfare system beginning Sunday.

Over a period of six years, at least 475 children have died, reports the Herald, despite several danger warnings.

“The Herald series will give names and faces to these children,” says DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo. “DCF knows these names. These cases have been closely studied in our continuous efforts to improve child protection practices.”

The series of articles “give the public a glimpse into what we at DCF already know — far too many children die of abuse and neglect each year,” according to the DCF, adding that the organization has several initiatives to improve child safety, including new safety decision-making protocols to improve data collection for better decisions on at-risk children.

Gov. Rick Scott’s budget recommendations also call for almost $40 million to add 400 more child protective investigators. The DCF says it conducts an average of 200,000 child-protective investigations for over 300,000 children each year.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.