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Recent child deaths spark concern of Fla. lawmaker

Child Abuse
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-17 06:13:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--There have been 4 child deaths in Florida within the last 6 weeks, now one lawmaker says she's ready to get back here to the capitol to make some changes.

Neil and Suzanne McCracken share two little girls.

"You look into the eyes of our eight and ten year olds, and I couldn't imagine. I couldn't imagine life without them," said Neil McCracken.

But, other families haven't been as fortunate four children ages five months to four years old have died since May 16th from neglect, abuse, or even left in a hot car.

"Its insane, it doesn't make sense, its hard to wrap my brain around how something so simple as allowing your child to go with you could save their lives," said Suzanne McCracken.

Its something that's alarming to lawmakers like senator Eleanor Sobel.

"Four innocent youngsters are now dead and i just feel awful about it and I'm not sure why this has happened in such a short time," said Sobel.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is now trying to fix the problem recently launching a new program streamlining training and approach to handling reports of abuse and neglect, but Sobel wonders should more be done.

"We don't know as senators, whether the new program is going to be better or worst for these kids who are at risk," said Sobel.

However; Whitney Ray with DCF released this statement: "Any child death due to abuse or neglect deserves our full scrutiny, and we invite input from all interested parties so we can thoroughly examine our processes to identify how they might be improved.

"When we have this committee hearing we'll get to the bottom of why there were four deaths and how to avoid that in the future and whether this program will be the most effective program," said Sobel.

Senator Sobel says she's plans to have the hearing in September when lawmakers return for committee weeks pre-legislative session.