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Children and Families
Category archives for: Children and Families

Advocates Call for DCF to Give Up Child Safety Oversight to Local Cops After Mass Murders

| October 8, 2014

Roy Miller, spokesman for the Children’s Lobby, said last month’s mass murder-suicide involving six children in Gilchrist County amounted to the last straw in the department’s response to a series of child deaths stretching back many years.

Despite 18 Investigations, DCF Claims Man’s 7 Murders in Bell Couldn’t Have Been Foreseen

| October 2, 2014

The murders drew national attention to the small town of Bell and led to questions about whether the Department of Children and Families could have done more to protect the children. The department and the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office visited the family’s home as recently as Sept. 2.

Family Insurance Premiums Rise Modestly For 3rd Year, But Still Approach $17,000

| September 11, 2014

While both critics and supporters of the Affordable Care Act are likely to find fodder for their positions, the report portrays 2014 as a relatively stable year for employer coverage, with little change in the type of plans offered or their costs.

Vaccine-Deniers Aside, Flagler Schools Seek Parental Consent for Broad Flu-Shot Campaign

| September 5, 2014

Vaccine consent forms went out this week to all parents with children in Flagler schools, where the district is partnering with Healthy Schools, the for-profit company, to administer flu shots to students on Sept. 18.

Sen. Sobel Calls for All Child Deaths, Not Just Those From Abuse, To Be Reported

| July 31, 2014

Florida just passed a law requiring the reporting of all child abuse deaths in an annual report. That’s not enough, Sen. Sobel says, proposing that all criminally-related child deaths, even in car wrecks, should be part of the report.

Department of Children and Families Intentionally Hid Reports on 30 Dead Kids

| June 2, 2014

After an embarrassing article appeared in The Miami Herald in September, a regional supervisor for the Department of Children and Families ordered workers not to file required incident reports on the deaths of children who were supposed to be safeguarded by DCF, the Herald reports.

Early Learning and KidCare Shortchanged as Children Take Back Seat in $77.1 Billion Budget

| May 9, 2014

Children’s issues were in the spotlight during the 2014 legislative session, frequently contentious and ultimately a very mixed bag. Given the size of the $77.1 billion budget — the largest in state history — many advocates said lawmakers could and should have done more for kids.

Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Bill Narrowly Targeting Epilepsy and Other Seizures

| May 2, 2014

The proposal would make Florida one of a handful of states that allow “Charlotte’s Web,” a low-THC strain of marijuana that proponents say doesn’t get users high but can end or dramatically decrease potentially fatal seizures in children who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy that can cause hundreds of seizures a week. The allowance would extend to some forms of cancer and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Raising Hope: Indian Trails Guardian Angels Lift Awareness of Teen Suicide and Depression

| April 17, 2014

The Guardian Angels, one of two Indian Trails Middle School Service Learning groups doing projects in conjunction with Palm Coast’s annual Arbor Day celebration on May 3, are raising money to dedicate a walkway at the Children’s Memorial Garden in Waterfront Park.

Despite Parental Notification Law, Court Finds Room for Teens to Protect Privacy When Seeking Abortion

| April 16, 2014

Florida voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment that requires parents to be notified before their minor daughters can have abortions. But an appeals court ruling released Friday shows how far teens can go to challenge the law–and preserve their privacy when seeking an abortion.

Lawmakers Poised to Kill Florida KidCare Expansion for 25,000 Children of Legal Immigrants

| April 4, 2014

The proposal (HB 7 and SB 282) would eliminate a five-year waiting period for lawfully residing immigrants to be eligible for KidCare, a subsidized insurance program that serves children from low- and moderate-income families. Senate President Don Gaetz would vote against it.

Sweeping Child-Welfare Reform Bill Calls For “Moral Outrage” and More Money

| April 3, 2014

The legislation got its start last fall, after media reports about a wave of child deaths from abuse and neglect — and gained momentum as it became clear that many of the victims were already known to the Florida Department of Children and Families, which had failed to protect them.

A 7-Year-Old Girl Is Baker Acted at Belle Terre Elementary; It’s Not Punishment, District Says

| March 4, 2014

The Baker Acting of a 7-year-old girl at Belle Terre Elementary last week, following a report of her allegedly lacerating the dean of students with thumb tacks, is one of three or four Baker Acts of students in the district every month, though they’re usually older. The district defends the Baker Acts as a necessary last resort that addresses underlying issues, and that must not be seen as retribution or punishment.

Flagler-Based Family Life Center Will Provide Rape-Exam Services, Ending Year of Failures Under Children’s Advocacy Center

| March 3, 2014

The Children’s Advocacy Center failures came to light last spring when it failed to provide a certified nurse following a rape, forcing the victim to wait for hours. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will administer the contract, awarded to Palm Coast and Bunnell-based Family Life Center. which says it has Flagler-based nurses to provide exams when needed.

From Child Protection to Early learning, Advocates Aim For More Serious Funding From 2014 Legislature

| March 2, 2014

With Florida’s coffers filling again and state leaders focusing on child protection, advocates are hopeful the 2014 legislative session will bring both policy and funding gains for children’s services as high-profile issues include a massive crackdown on sexually violent predators and an overhaul of the child-welfare system.

2-Year-Old Girl Brought to Hospital Bruised and Unresponsive; Palm Coast Man Charged With Aggravated Child Abuse

| February 27, 2014

Stanley Wykretowicz, a 38-year-old resident of Palm Coast, claimed his 2-year-old daughter fell in the tub, but doctors discovered extensive internal and external injuries that required emergency surgery after the child was taken to a children’s hospital in Jacksonville. Wykretowicz is at the Flagler jail on $150,000 bond.

5 Years After 7-year-old Gabriel Myers’s Suicide, Psychotropic Drugs Still Overprescribed in Foster Care

| February 11, 2014

At the time, about 5 percent of all U.S. children were treated with psychotropic medications, but in Florida’s foster care system, 15.2 percent of children received at least one such medication. Of these, more than 16 percent were being medicated without the consent of a parent, guardian or judge. Not much has changed.

Healthy Families and Other Children’s Programs Could Benefit From Scott’s Election-Year Budget

| February 3, 2014

Scott’s proposed budget includes an additional $7 million for Healthy Families Florida, a program that reduces child abuse and neglect, and $3.6 million for Early Steps, which screens the youngest children for disabilities and delays, the better to catch them at the earliest and most correctable.

Virulent Flu Season Aside, Potent RSV Bug Is Taking a Toll on Florida Children

| January 26, 2014

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is serious and highly contagious. There’s no vaccination around to keep your little one from catching it. And its seasonal duration is longer in Florida than in any other state, stretching from mid-August to March.

Again Breaking a Pledge, Children’s Advocacy Center Sets Ultimatum On Rape-Crisis Intervention as Top Cops Scramble

| January 9, 2014

The Children Advocacy Center’s promise in July to provide rape-crisis exams to adults in Flagler and Volusia counties turned out to be relatively hollow, and was followed by an ultimatum that the CAC would get out of the business altogether by June, triggering a furiously critical response from State Attorney R.J. Larizza, Sheriff Manfre and other local top cops.

Despite Florida’s Resistance, A New Era Of Health Insurance Begins for Millions

| January 3, 2014

Thousands of previously uninsured Floridians woke up Wednesday morning with peace of mind for the first time in years. More than half of Florida’s nearly 4 million uninsured are projected to qualify for coverage through the Marketplace. Another million would qualify if the Florida Legislature would permit it.

Palm Coast Couple Charged With Aggravated Child Abuse After Neglecting Broken Arm

| December 2, 2013

Authorities learned that the couple allegedly had cruel means of disciplining the 3-year-old boy, including dousing the child in cold water for napping when he wasn’t supposed to, sitting the child by the front door, as punishment, for 10 to 60 minutes, “and twisting [the child] into a pretzel with legs behind [his] head, causing pain to the groin area,” according to the arrest report.

Troubling Scene of 1 and 2 Year Old Soiled and In Road Leads to Neglect Charges Against Mom

| November 12, 2013

Josie-Lynn Walters, 22, a resident of Espanola, was arrested on two counts of child neglect–a third-degree felony–after her children were found wandering unsupervised and in soiled underwear for over an hour near a busy intersection as Walters slept at home.

Report Blisters DCF Over Abused Children’s Deaths as Florida Lawmakers Vow to Act

| November 6, 2013

Florida’s recent series of child-abuse deaths took center stage at the Capitol on Tuesday, as a report blasted the state child-welfare system and as both chambers of the Legislature signaled they would craft bills to address the system’s shortcomings.

Pantry Alert: Cuts in Food Stamps Benefits Will Affect 3.6 Million Floridians Staring Nov. 1

| October 26, 2013

Florida’s food hardship rate is more than 21 percent, meaning that one in five Florida households reported that in the past year they struggled to buy enough food for the family. The state is one of the hardest-hit for food security.

Beyond Rebecca Sedwick’s Suicide: Colleen Conklin Campaigns for More Cyberbullying Awareness

| October 22, 2013

More laws, mandates and prohibitions won’t work, Flagler County School Board member Colleen Conklin says, but more current awareness of the variety of online apps and social sites, where cyberbullying thrives, and more responsibility from both teens and their parents, are more likely to stem a pattern of bullying-induced teen suicides.

Focus on Flagler Sets Golf Fund-Raiser at Pine Lakes, for New Youth-Resilience Program

| October 11, 2013

Focus on Flagler won a $25,000 Juvenile Justice grant to run the Creating Lasting Family Connections program locally, helping youths and their parents become more resilient in the face of social and personal difficulties. The golf tournament fund-raiser will help establish the program.

DCF Looking to Bring Family Drug Court to Florida as an Intervention Method

| September 7, 2013

With substance abuse still threatening to overwhelm child-welfare systems like Florida’s, officials are looking at drug courts for troubled families as a way to address the problem.

Flagler Health Department Launches “Gospel” to Combat Twin Killers: Tobacco and Obesity

| September 5, 2013

Two initiatives will be the centerpiece of the Flagler Health Department’s strategy in the coming year: Tobacco Free Flagler and an effort to reduce the incidence of overweight and obese residents through more awareness of good nutrition, BMI and healthier activities.

HPV Vaccine For Teen Girls Stalling as Parents Inject Misinformation and Doctors Stay Mum

| July 27, 2013

Parents cite fears that the vaccine could have dangerous side effects. The fears are baseless, but have led to a significant drop in HPV vaccination for girls 14 to 17 that worries health officials. At the currently lower rates of immunization, an additional 4,400 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 1,400 cervical cancer-attributable deaths will occur in the future.

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