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Fla. lawmakers discuss spike in child deaths

Posted at 2:18 PM, Aug 21, 2013
and last updated 2014-02-03 03:27:48-05

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (AP) - Despite the recent deaths of nine children involved with the Department of Children and Families, more than a dozen state lawmakers and hundreds of child advocates offered few new solutions at a town hall.

Attendees reiterated many of the same problems have repeated after other high profile child deaths in the past decade including high caseloads and staff turnover rates, lack of accountability between DCF and its private contractors and missed red flags by caseworkers and child protective investigators.

DCF Secretary David Wilkins abruptly resigned last month as the deaths spiked and fights with the agency's private contractors escalated. Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo is reviewing all cases where DCF had investigated a prior report abuse allegation.  

Several advocates said lawmakers held some responsibility for cutting funding and eliminated key positions.