The newly named permanent head of the Florida Department of Children and Families says some of the recent reforms implemented by the child welfare agency are on the right track. DCF Secretary Mike Carroll presented some of the reform’s results to a Senate panel Thursday.
Speaking to the members of the Florida Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee that morning, an admittedly nervous Carroll says he’s grateful he lost his interim status.
“I was the interim Secretary, and knock on wood, hopefully the permanent Secretary,” said Carroll. “This is my first time—even though I’ve been with the department for 25 years—presenting before a legislative body. So, I’m a bit nervous.”
Carroll is the third Secretary named during Governor Rick Scott’s first term in office. His first predecessor resigned amid a spate of child deaths that occurred under DCF’s supervision. Since then, the Legislature has enacted a series of reforms, including the creation of a child death website. And, Carroll gave lawmakers an update on that as well.
“And, I can tell you that’s the best thing we’ve done,” he added. “We have rolled that out just after the legislative session last year. We tried to expand on it because what we did is we added…we just didn’t want to notify folks currently…we wanted to go back and put all child deaths on it so people could see the history of child fatalities in the state of Florida. We were able to put six years up.”
Carroll says his next target is to build on that number, and put every child death that has been reported to the state’s abuse hotline over the past 10 years on the website. He adds they’ll also be close to meeting their goal of reducing child protective investigators’ caseloads after they hire more people between now and March.
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