Florida Child Protection News is gathered for KARA by Dr. Denise R. Womer, Ph.D., a former law enforcement officer for 17 years and former DCF Investigator for the State of Florida. Dr. Womer has taught in higher education for 14 years and currently is a Professor for Kaplan University teaching in the School of Social and Behavior Sciences.
In Florida, fourteen news articles reviewed revealed infants and children suffered either abuse, neglect, or death from parents and or their caretakers. These parents or caretakers were discovered in some cases to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, engaged in some form of domestic violence, left an infant or children unsupervised or intentionally physically assaulted the victim. This is only part of the story in Florida.
A Florida Law Professor at the University of Florida of Florida Levin College of Law who helps run the school’s Center for Children and Families was arrested Tuesday and charged with child abuse. Joseph Steven Jackson, 59, of Gainesville, tried to punch the child, a girl in her early teens, in the face during an argument, but the girl backed away as he swung, the arrest report says. The strike was a glancing blow, and the victim was not injured.
Also, results of a federal study examined the Florida Department of Children and Families foster care cases services released findings of foster care services. The agency found between April to September 2016 more than half of the children removed in 80 cases were placed in foster homes were without services and without following all safety plans. Florida in 2005, contracted out services to 17 different private service providers. The agency has 90 days to correct the deficiencies. The agency has already called all service providers around the table to find ways to rectify the issues in the federal review.
Next, the Florida Department Children and Families (DCF) also receives calls of human trafficking of children. A 54% increase from the previous year showed a total of 1,892 reports. The increase per DCF was due to increased training and screening tools developed between DCF, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Attorney General. DCF tracks human trafficking by three primary categories: sexual exploitation by a non-caregiver, such as an adult entertainment club or escort service; sexual exploitation by a parent, guardian, or caregiver; and labor trafficking per the Associated Press.
The Florida Department of Children and Families state website reports all child fatalities within the state. Causes of deaths are still under investigation. What was not found in the news throughout the state indicated 23 children have died due to abuse and neglect.