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.