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After Recent Child Deaths, Gov. Scott Pledges Additional Funds To DCF


Governor Rick Scott says he wants an additional about $23 million to fund Florida’s child welfare agency—under scrutiny recently for its involvement in two high profile child abuse deaths.

Janiya Thomas was one of five siblings, and her family had an extensive history with the Florida Department of Children and Families.

“When [a previous] case was closed out, all five children were present and all five children were included in that case,” said DCF Secretary Mike Carroll, speaking recently to lawmakers. “So, they were all accounted for.”

But, after receiving the most recent child abuse allegation, Carroll says it was later revealed that Janiya was missing for more than a year.

“This time, the children were removed,” he added. “However, when the children were removed, there were only four children. And, then a law enforcement investigation began.”

The body of the 11-year-old Manatee County girl was later found in a relative’s freezer. Carroll says his agency also failed in preventing the death of a newborn baby whose parents were the target of an anonymous caller to the child abuse hotline, a day after he was born.  That call went ignored.

Meanwhile, in a release, the Governor says the $22.9 million will allow for the hiring of more than 270 case managers—which oversee foster care and adoption services. The funding is also aimed at increasing services for kids at risk from being removed from their home.

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.