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The National Commission on Children found that children are removed from their families "prematurely or unnecessarily" because federal aid formulas give states "a strong financial incentive" to do so.
Florida CPS News Archive
Florida News Coverage
DCF's Transformation of Child Safety: Does It Cut Too Many Corners?
This month, the Florida Department of Children and Families launched a new approach to child safety that its leaders predict will "transform" the old system.
The department is training 5,000 staff members, putting new technology in their hands and collaborating with judges, service providers, Guardians ad Litem and others to create a consistent, "holistic" child-welfare system. "Our investigators and case managers are being trained to engage the whole family in the process to teach them to make better decisions and, when necessary to keep the child safe, remove children from dangerous situations."
July 13, 2013
Fla. child welfare agency to train 5,000 in new system after child deaths
More than 5,000 Florida child protection staffers began training Monday under a new system that emphasizes safety and consistency and was implemented after the deaths of a handful of children who had recent contact with child protective officials.
Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins said the tool is not just another layer of paperwork bureaucracy. He said he was stunned when he took the reins of the agency in 2011 to learn after riding along with child investigators that basic, obvious safety questions weren't being asked during home visits.
July 1, 2013
Largo social worker adopts Pasco teen whose case she handled for 10 years
DADE CITY - Social worker Connie Going drove 10-year-old Taylor to dinner at Ruby Tuesday's.
The dinners were part of her routine with Taylor, who had been in and out of foster care and group homes since he was a preschooler. One attempt at adoption had failed. The boy was headstrong, and the father punished him by forcing him to take cold showers and run laps.
June 28, 2013
New bill will allow Florida children to stay in foster care.
Gov. Rick Scott was in Orlando Monday to sign a bill that will help teenagers who age out of foster care.
The Independent Living Bill will allow state foster children to remain in the system until they're 21 years old.
June 25, 2013
Altamonte Springs FL Chiropractor Becomes the Most Hated Person by Fitness Professionals
Altamonte Springs Chiropractor, Dr. Erik Roach reveals why most fitness pros and trainers hate him. Most people do not know the truth about weight loss and that is what he reveals.
Dr. Erik Roach of Roach Family Wellness Integrative Medicine, is the owner and head chiropractor of the clinic. The clinic is both a chiropractic and medical center that has helped hundreds of patients cure their pains and cope with certain disabilities. When the general public feels body pain or soreness they think about seeking a chiropractor but it is rare that people think of finding a chiropractic doctor for weight loss. Local fitness pros and weight loss clinics have lost clients because of the truth that Dr. Roach reveals.
June 8, 2013
Florida scientists prepare to release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes
Hundreds of thousands of mutated mosquitoes could soon be unleashed in Florida, but don't worry: scientists say they have a plan.
It might sound like something out of a low-budget horror film, but the US Food and Drug Administration really is considering whether or not they should allow scientists to send thousands upon thousands of genetically altered insects into the wild. If all goes as planned, mosquitos modified by some serious Frankenstein treatment will be introduced into the Florida Keys and ideally mate with skeeters that carry the deadly dengue fever, passing along in the process a fatal birth defect that will hopefully eradicate the offspring before birth.
June 2, 2013
Learning from the Past: Why Termination of a Non-Citizen Parent's Rights Should Not Be Based on the Child's Best Interest
In 2003, Felipe Montes illegally crossed the border from Mexico to the United States and traveled to Sparta, North Carolina to find work on Christmas tree farms. While living and working in Sparta, Felipe married a local woman named Marie.
In fact, the Department of Social Services investigated Marie and Felipe multiple times due to allegations that the couple neglected their children. In each instance, however, the Department's assessment did not reveal any evidence of neglect and the children remained in Felipe and Marie's custody. Felipe could not apply for a driver's license because he was an undocumented immigrant and he accumulated a series of traffic violations. As a result of his convictions, in 2010, Felipe was deported to Mexico and forced to leave his two young children, Isaiah and Adrian, and his pregnant wife in Sparta. Marie struggled to support herself and her family after Felipe's deportation.
April 24, 2013
Organic US pizza chain eyes slice of UAE market
US-based organic food chain Pizza Fusion is to open 15 outlets in the UAE over the coming decade as part of its strategy to open 40 restaurants in the region over the next five years.
The Boca Raton, Florida-based company will launch its first restaurant in Dubai this summer and has the option to open an additional ten stores following the initial run. Pizza Fusion currently has eight outlets in Saudi Arabia, in addition to six in Florida, two in New Jersey and one a piece in North Carolina, Colorado and Ohio.
April 15, 2013
DCF takes North Dakota family's kids
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A North Dakota family said coming to Jacksonville was the worst decision of their life after the Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of their three young children just days into their trip.
The family said their little girl was seriously sick, and doctors in North Dakota couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. So they came to Jacksonville for the specialized care, but three days into her stay at Wolfson Children's Hospital, doctors there called DCF, suspecting abuse.
April 12, 2013
Couple jailed for fleeing with kids to face judge
The Florida parents charged with kidnapping their boys from their grandparents and sailing to Cuba to elude authorities were expected to face a judge Thursday for the first time since they were forcibly returned from the island nation.
Joshua and Sharyn Hakken face charges including kidnapping, child neglect, false imprisonment, burglary and interference with custody. The couple seemed to have a charmed life, doting on their two young boys, buying a comfortable home and building successful careers as engineers. It all derailed last year when police in Louisiana found the family inside a hotel room with drugs, weapons and promises from the parents to take "a journey to the Armageddon." The parents lost custody of their sons who were cared for by their grandparents.
April 10, 2013
Georgia Program Reopens Foster Care Cold Cases
In far north Georgia, 17-year-old "Brandon" lives in a group home. He has been the ward of two states in his short life. Put up for adoption in Tennessee, adopted, then abandoned in Georgia. He's been in foster care for eight years.
There are somewhere between 250 and 300 kids like Brandon in Georgia: foster youths whose lives are stuck in a slide toward aging out of the foster system and into potential homelessness or prison, and with no connection with any family. They also risk a plain lack of success.
April 8, 2013
South Broward High teacher charged with having sex with student
Police have arrested a South Broward High School teacher for having consensual sex with a 16-year-old female student at the school, the Broward Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.
Teacher Michael James Lunt, 25, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday night, BSO said, and is charged with one count of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors - a second-degree felony.
March 27, 2013
Manatees Dying in Droves on Both Coasts of Florida
Large numbers of manatees are dying on both coasts of Florida. In the southwest, a persistent red tide in the Gulf of Mexico has killed nearly 200 manatees this year.
These tides are algal blooms, and occur when microorganisms called dinoflagellates proliferate, staining oceans and releasing toxins into the water and air. Harmful to organisms including fish, manatees and humans, the toxins attack the nervous system, causing short-term memory loss, paralysis, seizures and ultimately death.
March 22, 2013
I Am Very Disappointed in Governor Rick Scott
I was one of the few conservatives to support Governor Scott in 2010. He is a fundamentally great person. I really like him. He has been a friend to this site. But I am terribly disappointed in his decision to expand Medicaid in Florida.
The long term ramifications for Florida will be bad. The federal flow of dollars will not last and Florida will have to make up more and more funding. This decision will, long term, seriously harm Florida and make it less and less competitive. Governor Scott is interested in getting re-elected and has terrible poll numbers. No doubt part of this decision has to do with his wanting to get re-elected.
February 20, 2013
Intelligence Chief Hints At New Spy Satellites; Biggest Change in 30 Years
ORLANDO: The United States has boosted into orbit new spy satellites that mark "the most significant change to our overhead architecture in at least three decades," said the head of military intelligence, Mike Vickers.
Vickers also said these National Reconnaissance Office's satellites comprise "a truly integrated system of systems for the first time." Sadly for you, dear reader, the well-known leader of the first war in Afghanistan - the one against the Soviets - did not share any other details. Instead, he delivered his speech and left the conference at speed.
February 9, 2013
Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Guns, Kids and FL Dept. of Children and Families
As Jeff Gray greeted his son exiting the school bus, he could tell something was up. Soon after, Jeff received a call from Colleen Hagan, who invited herself to his house.
It was then that Jeff was told he was under investigation, due to a call made to the hotline for Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF). The caller - whose identity was kept secret by Colleen - accused Jeff of owning and shooting guns. Despite being thrown into such an undesirable situation, Jeff, who's no stranger to making transparent the actions of those who claim to serve and protect, recorded the interaction...
December 28, 2012
Father charged with aggravated child abuse
A Sarasota County father has been charged with aggravated child abuse in the death of his 11-year-old daughter.
Jail records show 35-year-old Kenneth Stoddard was arrested Wednesday night. He's being held without bond. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 18. It was not immediately known if he has an attorney.
December 20, 2012
Rep. Frederica Wilson seeks justice for foster care child missing for a decade
MIAMI - Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has said she hopes justice will be served in the tragic case of 4-year-old Rilya Wilson, who disappeared off the face of the earth while in foster care.
Wilson, who has been a staunch advocate for the missing child, says we must protect our foster children just as we would do our own children. "We must ensure voiceless children, like Rilya, are not forgotten," she said. The girl went missing in Rep. Wilson's district in 2001. She was in the care of her legal guardian, Pamela Graham, and Graham's long-term lesbian lover, Geralyn Graham.
December 19, 2012
Bikers making Christmas merrier for foster kids
PANAMA CITY — Christmas for children in the foster care system just got a little brighter, thanks to local motorcycle clubs.
About 500 bikers participated in the 27th annual Bikers for Kids parade Sunday. The mile-long group started at the Central Panhandle Fair, 2230 E. 15th St. (U.S. 98), rode through every section of town, then came back to the fairgrounds for gift donations, an auction, door prizes and raffle drawings.
December 3, 2012
Palm scanners get thumbs up in schools, hospitals
At schools in Pinellas County, Fla., students aren't paying for lunch with cash or a card, but with a wave of their hand over a palm scanner.
Palm-scanning technology is popping up nationwide as a bona fide biometric tracker of identities, and it appears poised to make the jump from schools and hospitals to other sectors of the economy including ATM usage and retail. It also has applications as a secure identifier for cloud computing.
November 26, 2012
Homeless man arrested for charging phone in park
A homeless man spent the night in jail Sunday after police arrested him for charging his cellphone in a public picnic shelter at Gillespie Park.
Darren Kersey, 28, was charged with theft of utilities after Sarasota Police Sgt. Anthony Frangioni spotted him charging his phone at about 9:20 p.m. Sunday. Unable to come up with the $500 bail for the misdemeanor, Kersey had no choice but to stay in jail.
November 12, 2012
Author Pens Real-life Horror Story of Foster-care System and Corruption
In Sherrie Clark's new memoir "Small Voices Silenced: The Secret Society of Sacrificed Children", a couple find themselves in a true-life horror story, battling a powerful, secret society.
Clark and her husband, like thousands of parents, wanted to adopt a child. By acting as foster-to-adopt parents, they had the chance to slowly bring two young girls into their lives, and themselves into the girls' lives. Until everything changed.
November 11, 2012
Buying Junk Food With Food Stamps May Be Banned In Florida
According to Florida state Senator Ronda Storms, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the junk food habits of impoverished Americans.
Unlike most people, who may shake their heads in disapproval when they see someone paying for a cart full of processed foods with food stamps, Storms used her position to take decisive action. She sponsored a bill that would prohibit Floridians from purchasing "nonstaple, unhealthy foods" with funds provided by the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
October 22, 2012
Investigation under way on K12 virtual school used in Northeast Florida districts
Student-teacher ratios at K12, the nation's largest online educator, are nearly twice as high as Florida's state-run virtual school.
A high school teacher working for K12 may have as many as 275 students, compared to Florida Virtual School, which has a maximum class size of 150. According to company documents, K12 provides better student-teacher ratios to schools that pay more per student, though even the best ratios are higher than the state-run competitor's. K12 has come under fire for high student-teacher ratios and poor student performance in Arizona, Georgia and Tennessee.
October 6, 2012
Florida welfare drug testing: State's implementation of required drug tests was 'chaotic'
TALLAHASSEE - Kidney patients required to give urine samples through a catheter. Counties without drug testing centers. And drug tests with confidential personal information such as Social Security numbers turning up in unrelated files.
That's the scenario that the American Civil Liberties Union laid out in court documents filed this week in its ongoing battle with Gov. Rick Scott's administration over whether it's legal to drug test applicants for welfare assistance. As part of its lawsuit, the ACLU uncovered hundreds of documents detailing what attorney Maria Kayanan called "a chaotic four-month scramble to implement the new law," which took effect on July 1 of last year and was suspended by a federal judge in October.
September 13, 2012
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