DCF Rapidly Deploying New Child Welfare Laws

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2015

DCF Rapidly Deploying New Child Welfare Laws
Changes in SB 1666 implemented in record time

TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Children and Families (DCF) last week presented before the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs and the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee on the progress of implementing provisions in Senate Bill 1666, last year’s major child welfare legislation.

“Last year our partners in the Legislature laid out important new measures to help protect Florida’s at-risk children. We’ve since been working quickly to put into practice the changes asked of us, and exceed the expectations laid out in the bill,” Secretary Mike Carroll said. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve already made and I’m committed to seeing all of the changes implemented in order improve our mission to protect those most vulnerable.”

Following the 2014 Legislative session, DCF quickly began deploying the provisions in the bill prior to the legislatively mandated timeline. The department has reached 80 percent implementation as of this month.

Some key elements of the bill that have been accomplished include:

  • Appointment of Janice Thomas as Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare
  • Launch of the Child Fatality Prevention website containing information regarding all child fatalities called into the Abuse Hotline alleged to be a result of abuse or neglect and information on the department’s prevention campaigns
  • Training 74 child welfare professionals to serve as Critical Incident Rapid Response Team (CIRRT) members
  • Implementation of the loan forgiveness and tuition exemption programs for child welfare personnel
  • Expansion of the relative caregiver program to include financial assistance payments to non-relative caregivers
  • Collaboration on the establishment of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare

With additional funding provided by Governor Scott and the Legislature to hire more frontline staff, DCF has worked to quickly recruit more than 245 new Child Protective Investigators and Supervisors throughout the state with the goal of hiring individuals with social work degrees or other human-service related educations. As positions are filled, DCF is committed to increasing staff retention to ensure a stable and professional workforce.

For more information and progress on SB1666 implementation, visit: www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/childwelfare/docs/SB_1666_ImpPlan20150123.pdf

Contact: Michelle Glady, DCF Press Secretary, 850-717-4450