Roma Court Academy in palm Coast was the subject of two DCF and Flagler Sheriff’s Office investigations in 48 hours, one of them leading to a felony child abuse charge filed against a 51-year-old teacher.
department of children and families
In Florida if you can’t show that you’re working or meet the work requirements some other way, you get penalized and lose your food stamps for the following month. If you fail to meet the requirements again, it’s a three-month sanction and then six months.
The bill, aimed at reducing instability for foster children, would match children with their best placement options — rather than, as critics charge, the first beds that are handy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for foster parents, DCF Director of Faith Based Development Erik Braun told child welfare professionals at a conference that Florida has 12 million residents affiliated with a Catholic or Protestant church, 1 million Jews and 400,000 to 600,000 Muslims.