Since May, seven children known to the Florida Department of Children and Families have died, leading Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman to say that “anybody but DCF” should investigate child abuse and neglect.
The judge has suggested — and interim DCF Secretary Esther Jacobo is considering — having law enforcement or community-based care agencies take over that role. Given the agency’s history of failing to protect children in its care, the sentiment of the juvenile court judge is understandable. The life and death of 4-year-old Antwan Hope, however, illustrates why her suggestion is not a panacea for Florida’s child protection system.
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