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

| June 2, 2014

More than 2,000 Miami-Dade County schoolchildren shined lights as they sang "This Little Light of Mine" at the Amigos For Kids  event on May 12, honoring children who died because they were abused or neglected. But DCF has itself hidden the reports of children who died while under its supervision, according to a Miami Herald report.

More than 2,000 Miami-Dade County schoolchildren shined lights as they sang “This Little Light of Mine” at the Amigos For Kids event on May 12, honoring children who died because they were abused or neglected. But DCF has itself hidden the reports of children who died while under its supervision, according to a Miami Herald report. (DCF/Facebook)

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.

Because of that order, the deaths of at least 30 children in Southeast Florida over five months were never entered into the state information system, Carol Marbin Miller of  The Miami Herald reported on Sunday. That region covers five counties, including Broward and Palm Beach.

The regional DCF administrator who issued the order on Dec. 13 was Kimberly Welles, an administrator at the Department of Children & Families’ Southeast Region, according to e-mail records obtained by the Herald.

Welles took the action after supervisor Lindsey McCrudden sent her a report on the death of an infant  in a family that had been the focus of DCF on four occasions, the Herald said. Welles deleted her copy and ordered McCrudden to do the same, the e-mails show.

“No incident reports right now on death cases,” Welles wrote to McCrudden, the Herald said. Welles said she’d explain later.

At the time, DCF administrators knew that the newspaper was assembling a series of articles on the deaths of children from abuse or neglect who were supposedly under the protection of the agency.  The series Innocents Lost, which began in late March, reported that 477 children fell into that category.

But that total left off at Nov. 1, so on March 31, the Herald reporters asked for the death reports filed after that. In gathering materials to fulfill that information request, DCF headquarters discovered there weren’t any from the region that usually produced the most.

DCF’s new secretary, Mike Carroll, has assigned deputy Peter Digre to follow up, the Herald said.

The Child Welfare Act, which orders an overhaul of the way DCF looks into abuse and neglect cases,  passed last month and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. Health News Florida reported last month that the act was the major accomplishment of the 2014 Legislature.

–Health News Florida

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18 Responses for “Department of Children and Families Intentionally Hid Reports on 30 Dead Kids”

  1. Max Awesomeness says:

    Kimberly Welles needs to be in prison for willfully endangering children and being an accomplice to murder for this.

  2. Merrill Shapiro says:

    …..and we the taxpayers of Florida are paying how much in salary and benefits for these good-for-nothings?

  3. A.S.F. says:

    Is this person, Kimberly Welles, actually a licensed Social Worker? If so, and if her actions are documented and proven, her license should be immediately revoked, PERMANENTLY! This is criminal and morally reprehensible. And, there should be an investigation to see if HER orders came from even higher up. I can’t even imagine the extent of this scandal–But, if it forces a reform/overhaul of the Proctective Service system, then it is WAY overdue!

  4. A.S.F. says:

    From what I can gather on the web, Ms. Welles does not have an advanced degree in Social Work which probably means, if she does possess a license, it is not of the level that someone in her position should possess I also gather that she left the public arena at least once in the past, complaining of the effects that prior down-sizing had on DCF. Then, she returned. Now, this. The account described above leads me to believe that prior attempts at “reforming” DCF have been cosmetic and temporary, at best. Floridians should DEMAND a SERIOUS overhaul of the system, under the guidance and leadership of committed people who are appropriate to the task…These individuals should not be selected solely by virtue of the number of years they have previously worked at DCF (that might even be contra-indicated) or their political connections.

    • Mad as heck and not going to take it anymore! says:

      I worked for a state up north in the midwest for 30 years and moved here with a very nice pension.. When I came here, I worked for DCF for 5 long years. I’m still relatively young. I thought, why not? Pad my income a tad for a while. My DCF supervisor, told me that she only had a high school diploma and DCF was the best she could get and wondered why I would bother with DCF. Yes, you are correct, most do not have an advanced degree in anything. Matter of fact, many have no degree at all! Far too many employees are straight off the public assistance roles. It’s not a good situation.

  5. confidential says:


  6. confidential says:

    Political pressures on the life and death of innocent children of our middle class and the poor.
    A real shame!

  7. Mad as heck and not going to take it anymore! says:

    Until DCF starts paying adult wages, they cannot recruit and retain qualified staff. Those involved in these situations should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Since the State of Florida cannot attract and keep qualified staff, the sensible thing to do is to outsource as much as possible. If it’s not core, contract it out and manage the contracts.

  8. Anonymous says:

    First the VA and now DCF . These administrators need to be criminally liable for all deaths caused by their negligence.

  9. orphan says:

    If you would like to read a little more about incompetency here in our glorious state when it comes to the abuse of children maybe you should read a book titled “Dani’s Story” .
    This is a real horror story that was not made up. But rest easy for awhile-you have to read it to understand that there are actually people here in our state who care so much for precious lives that they go WAY above the call of duty to save our children. I’m referring to state employees and especially to the wonderful people who adopt special needs children! There has to be a special place somewhere for these Angels.
    God love them!

  10. Sherry Epley says:

    This is a direct result of budget cuts from 2011 push through by Rick Scott! He has to go!

    This from the Orlando Sentinel at that time:

    DCF lays off 500 workers, claims children will not be affected
    May 26, 2011|By Kate Santich, Orlando Sentinel
    The Florida Department of Children and Families began issuing layoff notices Thursday to nearly 500 employees — a move officials said would save taxpayers $48 million while preserving the agency’s protection and care of abused and neglected kids.

    The layoffs are a result of budget cuts passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott. They come as the department has faced sharp criticism for its handling of the Barahona case in south Florida.

    • Max Awesomeness says:

      As much as I might like to place this entirely on the shoulders of skeletor, it’s not entirely a consequence of the DCF budget cuts. Yes, budget cuts and the resulting layoffs placed children in danger because of the lack of manpower.

      My guess is that Welles was playing a stats game when she chose to hide these 30 deaths. She was the regional DCF supervisor, so if a baby dies on her watch it looks bad, so she was probably cooking the books just like regional law enforcement agencies cook books to make their crime stats look good.

  11. m&m says:

    Isn’t DCF adding 400 more people to do the same as these?? NOTHING!!!!!

  12. nomad says:

    Unbelievable! I cannot believe that more people are not outraged about this – only 12 comments and the most likes only amount to 11. Well, they do say Americans would sell their mothers for a dime. The funny thing is, most of these kids are from either really messed-up homes or middle class women who dumped their disable children on the system. For poor families, the kid is a meal ticket so there is no incentive to hand them over to the sate. The shame of this society…karma is coming…

  13. Truth Monitor says:

    I firmly believe that CPS is doing the best they can with their inexperienced and lazy employee’s. This organization can and has falsified records and while supposedly meeting their obligations with visitations of a family that’s on their alert list there out maybe going shopping or meeting with other case workers at Dunkin Donuts. Some of these caseworkers should be replaced but has almost immunity from any action by their superiors. CPS has been cooking their books like a criminal organization. They are secretive and will not disclose freely what they have done to earn a paycheck. I don’t have an answer in how this organization can be accountable for their lack of doing their job. Maybe, just maybe some politician who is not a coward will persue this bastion of incompetence and lack of transparency

  14. Ed says:

    @ Truth Monitor, If this is “their best” clearly it is not good enough and they need to be gone. In Child Protection, there is no place for inexperience, incompetence, and lazy, cooking books, immunity from their actions, being secretive. Would be better off to completely disband DCF and CPS and allow religious organizations and willing volunteers to step in and handle these precious children until such time as a working solution is formulated.

    • A.S.F. says:

      @Ed says–It sounds as though your heart is in the right place but volunteers should not be placed on the front lined of CPS and DCF. There are too many people who think that good social work is a piece of cake and “easy job” that anyone can do. No matter how well-intentioned, this is a job that requires professional training and a high degree of competence. It is like anything else that requires professional knowledge. Would you want a doctor or nurse or therapist to attend you who was an unlicensed volunteer? You might be able to use very highly trained volunteers in some capacity as adjuncts but not on the front lines. Religious organizations do a fine job and many already offer services along these lines but Separation of Church and State exists for a reason. How would you like to be a client with serious issues who would feel put on the spot to answer to an organization whose affiliation you do not happen to share? It is hard enough to get people to open their hearts and minds to comply without introducing another potential stumbling block.

    • Raul Troche says:

      Amen to that. Too often these organizations have done more harm than good.

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