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Capital Report: 08-23-2013

Since April, 20 children who had already been on the Department of Children and Family’s radar, died from child abuse or neglect. It’s a number state officials say must shrink and, as Regan McCarthy reports, even though it’s months before the start of the next legislative session, lawmakers are already working with experts and community leaders to find solutions.

Even after its passage in congress and success at the U-S Suprement Court, wrangling continues over the federal Affordable Care Act.  Critics charge the devil is now in the details of the act’s implementation.  We have team coverage of two areas of current contention in Florida.  The first is a report about what are called "navigators" from Tampa member station WUSF’s Lottie Watts.  Then we’ll hear about patient privacy concerns from Florida Public Radio’s Ryan Benk.       

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities recently solidified its financial footing after nearly a decade of budget deficits that put agency officials under a legislative and gubernatorial microscope.  But now the agency is facing two lawsuits challenging its budgeting process. And, as Lynn Hatter reports, the outcome of those legal challenges has the potential to throw the agency’s future, and those of the more than 30-thousand disabled Floridians it serves, into doubt.

The state of Florida says it will ask a judge to throw out a lawsuit alleging Floridians with mental illness are kept isolated from society. As Jessica Palombo reports, the disability-rights advocacy group that filed the suit says the state needs to do more to get people out of mental hospitals.

Making sure released inmates don’t come back to prison is a main goal for prison reform advocates not only on the federal level, but the state level as well. Florida, in recent years, has tried and failed to implement a series of prison reforms, particularly aimed at drug offenders.  But, as Sascha Cordner reports, that won’t deter those same advocates from bringing back those same reforms next year.