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Florida Lawmakers Discuss DCF Report On 5-Year-Old's Tragic Death

Florida Channel

A panel of Florida lawmakers got an update Tuesday on a report, detailing what led to the tragic death of a little girl last month.

In early January, Phoebe Jonchuck’s father allegedly threw her from a bridge during what appears to be a psychotic episode. A detailed report shows the state’s abuse hotline missed two opportunities, warning of Phoebe’s father mental state. And, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll says he’s now looking into a number of areas to improve—like tracking the number of screened out calls.

“What happens to the screened out calls,” he asked. “How many of them really do come back to us? Because the answer is not to take every call that comes into the call center. You would be surprised about what some of the calls received entail, but the answer is making sure we take the right calls each and every time.”

Carroll, speaking to the House Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee, says he's also working on hotline staff training and fixing what he calls “systemic issues.” In addition, Carroll says he’s looking into the high turnover of child welfare personnel and is going to do more to look into substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence—all issues that were prevalent in the Jonchuck case. It’s also slated to be the subject of a three-hour hearing during the first week of the Florida Legislative Session.

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.