Monday, April 11, 2011

FL RepubliKKKans Kill Children

For decades, legislators and governors in FL have failed to adequately provide for child welfare in the state by failing to adequately fund the Department of Children and Families, leading to entirely foreseeable consequences: children missing from foster care, reorganization "studies" giving JEB! blessing to privatize huge swathes of the "protective" system, and resulting deaths of innocent kids over 20 years.

[For months a little girl goes to school, battered and bruised. Teachers’ calls to the state’s abuse hot line go unheeded. She disappears and is found, days later, dead. The prime suspect is her father.

A shocked state calls for reform, and a panel investigates what went wrong. It finds little urgency among front-line workers in the state’s child welfare system, too little credibility given to the concerns of educators and a startling lack of people using common sense.
The group concludes: “It is imperative that the children of Florida be protected from abuse better.”

But this is not the story of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona, found dead on Valentine’s Day, her small body awash in chemicals and shoved in a black trash bag inside her adoptive father’s pickup truck. They are the hauntingly similar findings of a grand jury called more than 10 years earlier to look into the death of 6-year-old Kayla McKean, a Lake County girl beaten to death on Thanksgiving Eve 1998 after a series of reports to state child protection workers saying she was physically abused went ignored.

The grand jury presentment on Kayla’s death is among about two dozen reports compiled in the last 20 years blasting Florida’s troubled child welfare system. Each resulted from a scandalous child death. Each found similar faults with the system and were soon followed by promises from leaders with the state’s Department of Children &; Families to make Florida’s children safer.]  emphasis added
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[That high turnover, at crisis level in Southwest Florida for the second time in recent years, directly endangers the lives of children who need state protection.

The News-Press reported Sunday that more than half the child abuse investigators in Southwest Florida left their jobs last year. The rate was 45 percent in Lee County and an amazing 86 percent in Collier County. The statewide figure was about 36 percent.

Regional DCF officials blame low and inequitable pay, difficult hours and increasing demands on investigators. But the local DCF's human resources department has also received 15 complaints from a dozen employees in the past two years, reflecting conflict with managers, and including allegations of sexual harassment, racial discrimination and a hostile workplace.]

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