Saturday, December 18, 2004


The Orlando Sentinel reports this morning that the Florida Department of Children and Families is changing it's policy on how calls to it's Tallahassee-based Child Abuse Hotline are handled when the call is from a law-enforcement officer, nurse, or child-welfare professional. The change is in response to criticism following the murder of four year old Kai Gadison by her abusive mother earlier this week in near Orlando.

Although the mother was already on probation for child abuse --- a fact of which DCF was well aware --- the agency did nothing when Kenya Hill's probation officer phoned his concern to the hotline about the squalid living conditions in an extended stay motel. It's a clear case of dropping the ball when it really counted, and very likely because of someone's screwup in Tallahassee a child will never see her fifth birthday in Orlando.

It does sound like the operator who took the call is going to take the fall for this incident. The Sentinel quotes DCF's Orlando-area director as saying the agency is investigating how "Kathy", the operator in question, handled the call. "Kathy" is currently being "counseled"...a nice way of saying "her a** is out da door in due time".

As I said a couple of days ago, the vast majority of DCF employees are hard working people who do the best they can under an increasingly hostile enviroment, thanks to Jeb! and his buddies in Tallahassee's eagerness to privatize many of the department's functions. The budgets for all of DCF programs, including child abuse prevention and investigation, is nowhere near where it should be, and in many cases has been slashed considerably. Positions go unfilled or are cut entirely, which means that workloads are nearly impossible to maintain in a reasonable manner. That means, of course, that morale is low and turnover is high. The bottom line is simply seems to me that Jeb! and his sheep in the Capitol don't seem to be serious about helping and/or protecting the state's most vunerable.

The Lakeland Ledger has an excellent editorial in today's edition dealing with the DCF issue.


Post a Comment

<< Home