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Range of DCF oversight issues, bills to be debated by Florida lawmakers this Session

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As legislators in Tallahassee prepare themselves to convene their 60-day Session Tuesday, expect an assortment of proposed bills to be hashed out over the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Hot-button subjects with bipartisan support in the Senate and House include improvements in mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, working toward identifying and reducing human trafficking, better child protection and a funding shift from the federal level, according to several officials who spoke with FloridaPolitics.com ahead of Session. The…

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Review of 250 reports by DCF investigators accused of lying shows 40 percent falsified

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Caseworkers at the Florida Department of Children and Families are being forced to shoulder nearly unbelievable workloads, leading some to falsify records, according to a new report by an Orlando TV news station. A single child protection investigator in the (DCF) had at one point 32 cases with 77 accompanying children, show DCF documents provided to ABC affiliate WFTV. The state agency tasked with overseeing child welfare in the Sunshine State gave the ABC News Channel 9 Investigates team –…

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Child Abuse Death Review Committee to examine fatality emergency calls

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A total of 931 combined child deaths were reported in Florida in both 2015 and 2016, according to the state’s Child Abuse Death Review Committee (CADR), which met in Tampa Friday to discuss the issue. Broken down, 474 of those reviewable fatalities were in 2015, with another 457 reviewable notifications made in 2016. More than 200 of those are still open cases — 29 from 2015 and 175 from 2016, per graphs compiled in documents by the committee and released…

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DCF files: Tony Dungy, adoption, false reports and a new trend – falling asleep in cars, high and with kids

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It’s another interesting day in the Florida child welfare business and not a bit has anything to do with a Department of Children and Families (DCF) child protection investigator being arrested. That’s good news. Starting with the positive, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Tony Dungy was in the state capital to speak at a DCF Black History Month Celebration, giving a 15-minute talk to those in attendance. He serves as a spokesman for the Tampa-based nonprofit, All-Pro Dad. “I think that’s what…

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Florida child protection investigator arrested for lying in possible sex abuse case

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A former child protection detective in Florida was arrested for lying in an ongoing investigation involving the possible sexual assault of a child, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Children and Families confirmed Monday. According to court records, Brittanee Sharmayne Carter, 27, was taken into custody by agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) after a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was charged with two felony counts of altering or destroying the records of a…

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Mike Carroll: “We aren’t always able” to save “broken” children

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The head of the state’s child welfare agency told a legislative panel his department has now handed over “5,000 pages of documents” to a judge looking into why a foster child hung herself while broadcasting it on social media. Mike Carroll, secretary of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), spoke to the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee this week. Naika Venant, a 14-year-old Miami-Dade County girl who was in and out of foster care starting in 2009, killed herself last month during a Facebook Live video.…

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Florida children’s agency helped kids go home for the holidays

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More than 3,000 at-risk children will spend the holidays with their birth or adoptive families after a push by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Agency staff worked with dependency judges and local groups to expedite the reunification of foster kids with their families or relatives, or to facilitate their adoption. “The heart of our mission is to help families heal and reunify, or, when that is not possible, to find forever homes for children in the welfare system,” Department…

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