Statement Regarding the Death of Phoebe Jonchuck

January 8, 2014

The death of Phoebe Jonchuck at the hands of her father is an absolute tragedy. The Department of Children and Families is working closely with law enforcement as part of our child fatality investigation. DCF is deploying a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team (CIRRT) to assess the investigations and interventions with Phoebe’s family prior to her murder. The CIRRT will be led by Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare Janice Thomas along with law enforcement, mental health providers and the newly created Florida Institute of Child Welfare. More information on the CIRRT team can be found here: http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2014/39.2015.

There have been prior child protective investigations involving this child conducted by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Child Protection Investigation Division, including a case commenced on Dec. 30, 2014. DCF received a call to the Abuse Hotline at 2:45 p.m. yesterday regarding the mental health of Phoebe’s father. It was reported that Phoebe was at home with her grandparents present. For a copy of the incident report, records related to the prior investigations and information regarding the hotline call made on January 7, visit: Records.

Statement from DCF Secretary Mike Carroll:
 
“The horrible nature of this little girl’s murder at the hands of her father is heart wrenching and demands our most immediate and thorough response. The multidisciplinary review team will be on the ground in Tampa tomorrow working with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Child Protection Investigation Division to review all the details of the involvement with this family. We must do everything we can at DCF to prevent any and all harm to precious children like Phoebe."

"After the tragic loss of Phoebe, the department is immediately changing our Hotline criteria to include a trigger for when a caregiver is believed to be experiencing a psychotic episode that would require a CPI visit within four hours and a notification to law enforcement. We have to do more for the children, like Phoebe, who depend on us to protect them."

Media Contact: Michelle Glady, DCF Press Secretary, Michelle.Glady@MyFLFamilies.com