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Bill Overhauling Florida's Child Welfare Agency Signed Into Law

There are now three bills awaiting the Governor’s approval, after Governor Rick Scott signed a bill overhauling Florida’s child welfare system.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) was tasked during the 2014 Legislative Session with drawing up a comprehensive child welfare reform bill in the Senate. Multiple investigations by the Miami Herald about child deaths under the Florida Department of Children and Families’ watch in recent years was the impetus.

So, Sobel says she couldn’t be prouder about the bipartisan effort to reform the troubled child welfare system.

“Everybody weighed in, and we came up with a tremendous bill that I believe is landmark legislation that only happens once in a decade, and the impetus was the Miami Herald…a huge cover-up going on, and we felt we could not continue to let innocent children die,” said Sobel. “You know, it’s a terrible situation. And, all of us don’t want to read about that anymore. We’re tired of three-year-olds and five year olds dying when the state could be doing a much better job. So, hopefully, with this new legislation we’re going to address these issues.”

The new law includes money to hire 270 child protective investigators, encourages most investigators to have a social worker background, establishes an outside response team to investigate child abuse deaths, and requires DCF to post all reported child abuse deaths on a website—expected to be launched Wednesday.  The law takes effect next Tuesday.

Stay tuned to Friday's Capital Report for more on this story.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.