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Carroll Gives Update On DCF Reforms, Hopes To Build On Child Deaths Site

Florida Channel

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. 

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.